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•  WITH  •  THEIR  •  LATER  •  POEMS  • 


JTV, 


FROM   THE   LIBRARY   OF 
REV.    LOUIS    FITZGERALD    BENSON.   D.  D 

BEQUEATHED    BY    HIM    TO 

THE   LIBRARY   OF 

PRINCETON   THEOLOGICAL   SEMINARY 


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Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2012  with  funding  from 

Princeton  Theological  Seminary  Library 


http://archive.org/details/alicepOOames 


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MiBitc-hie. 


^^^^ 


A   MEMORIAL 


ALICE   AND    PHOEBE    CARY, 

WITH   SOME  OF  THEIR   LATER   POEMS. 

by  ^ 

MARY   CLEMMER   AMES. 

ILLUSTRATED  BY  TWO  PORTRAITS  ON  STEEL. 
TWELFTH  THOUSAND. 


X  E  W  YORK: 
PUBLISHED    BY    KURD    \\D    HOUGHTON. 

CnmbvftJQc     JTDc  Ifcflwtffel  ih 

1876. 


Entered  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1873,  b> 

Hurd  and  Houghton, 
la  the  Office  of  the  Librarian  of  Congress,  at  Washington. 


RIVERSIDE,    CAMBRIDGE  : 

STEREOTYPED    AND    PRINTED    BY 

H.   O.    HOUGHTON   AND  COMPANY. 


TO 


ALICE    CARY    CLYMER 

(LITTLE  ALICE), 


ATMO,     fO   THEIR    LAST   EARTHLY   HOUR,   GAVE   TO    HER   AUHTS   A 
daughter's  TENDEREST  love  and  devotion,  this 

MEMORIAL   OF   THEIR    LIVES 

ii  81fectumateln  JBetrtcatefc, 

BY    HER   FRIEND  AND  THEIRS, 


MARY   CLEMMEP    AMES 


PREFACE. 


When,  at  the  request  of  the  brothers  of  Alice  and 
Phoebe  Cary,  I  sat  down  to  write  a  Memorial  of  their 
lives,  and,  looking  through  the  entire  mass  of  their 
papers,  found  not  a  single  word  of  their  own  referring 
in  any  personal  way  to  themselves,  every  impulse  of 
my  heart  impelled  me  to  relinquish  the  task.  To  tell 
the  story  of  any  human  life,  even  in  its  outward  inci- 
dents, wisely  and  justly,  is  not  an  easy  thing  to  do. 
But  to  attempt  a  fit  memorial  of  two  women  whose 
lives  must  be  chiefly  interpreted  by  inward  rather  than 
outward  events,  and  solely  from  personal  knowledge 
and  remembrance,  was  a  responsibility  that  I  was 
anwilling  to  assume.  With  the  utter  absence  of  any 
data  of  their  own,  it  seemed  to  me  that  the  lives  of  the 
Cary  sisters  could  only  be  produced  from  the  com- 
bined reminiscences  of  all  their  more  intimate  personal 
friends.  Months  were  consumed  in  writing  to,  and 
(n  waiting  for  replies  from,  long-time  friends  of  the 
sisters.  All  were  willing,  but  alas  !  they  "  had  de- 
stroyed all  letters,"  had  forgotten  "lots  and  lots  of 
things  that  would  have  been  interesting;"  they  were 
preoccupied,  or  sick  ;  and,    after    months    of  waitings 


n  PREFACE. 

I  sat  where  I  began,  with  the  mass  of  Alice's  and 
Phoebe's  unedited  papers  before  me,  and  not  an  added 
line  for  their  lives,  with  a  new  request  from  their 
legatees  and  executors,  that  I  should  go  on  with  the 
Memorial. 

Here  it  is. 

It  has  cost  me  more  than  labor.  Every  day  1 
have  buried  my  friends  anew.  Every  line  wrung  from 
memory  has  deepened  the  wound  of  irreparable  loss. 

From  beginning  to  end  my  one  purpose  has  been, 
not  to  write  a  eulogy,  but  to  write  justly.  In  depict- 
ing their  birthplace  and  early  life  in  Ohio,  I  have 
quoted  copiously  from  Phoebe's  sketch  of  Alice,  and 
Ada  Carnahan's  sketch  of  her  Aunt  Phoebe,  both 
published  in  the  (Boston)  "Ladies'  Repository," 
believing  that  that  which  pertained  exclusively  to  their 
early  family  life  could  be  more  faithfully  told  by  mem- 
bers of  the  family  than  by  any  one  born  outside  of  it. 
Save  where  full  credit  is  given  to  others,  I,  alone,  am 
responsible  for  the  statements  of  this  Memorial.  Not 
a  line  in  it  has  been  recorded  from  "  hearsay."  Not 
a  fact  is  given  that  I  do  not  know  to  be  true,  either 
from  my  own  personal  knowledge,  or  from  the  lips  of 
the  women  whose  lives  and  characters  it  helps  to 
represent.  I  make  this  statement  as  facts  embodied 
Dy  me  before,  in  a  newspaper  article,  have  been  pub- 
licly questioned.  One  writer  went  so  far  as  to  say  in 
a  public  journal,  that,  "  As  she  would  not  willingly  mis- 
represent her,  Mrs.   Ames  must  have  misunderstood 


PREFACE.  Vll 

Alice  Gary."  I  never  misunderstood  Alice  Cary.  She 
never  uttered  a  word  to  me  that  I  did  not  perfectly 
understand.  I  have  never  recorded  a  word  of  her 
that  I  did  not  know  to  be  true,  nor  with  any  purpose 
but  to  do  absolute  justice  to  my  dearest  friend.  This 
is  a  full  and  final  reply  to  any  query  or  doubt  which 
this  Memorial  may  suggest  or  call  forth.  All  who 
read  have  a  perfect  right  to  criticise  and  to  question  ; 
but  I  shall  not  feel  any  obligation  to  make  further 
reply.  Life  is  too  short  and  too  precious  to  spend 
it  in  privately  answering  persons  who  "  wish  to  be 
assured  that  the  Cary  sisters  were  not  Universalists," 
or  who  cultivate  original  theories  concerning  their 
character  or  life. 

The  poems  following  the  Memorial  have,  with  buj 
three  or  four  exceptions,  never  before  been  gath- 
ered within  the  covers  of  a  book.  The  exceptions 
are  Alice's  "The  Sure  Witness,"  "One  Dust,"  and 
"  My  Creed,"  all  published  before  in  the  volume  of 
her  poems  brought  out  by  Hurd  and  Houghton,  in 
1865,  and  reproduced  here  as  special  illustrations  of 
her  character,  faith,  and  death. 

In  parting  with  a  portion  of  the  treasures  and  "  pic- 
tures of  memory,"  it  has  been  difficult  sometimes  to 
decide  which  to  give  and  which  to  retain.  Many, 
>oo  precious  for  any  printed  page,  were  neveith 
such  a  part  of  the  true  souls  from  whom  they  ema- 
nated, that  to  withhold  them  seemed  like  defrauding  the 
'iving    for  the  sake  of   the  dead.       Thus    tome   inci 


Vlll  PREFACE. 

dents  are  given  solely  because  they  are  necessary  to 
the  perfect  portrayal  of  the  nature  which  they  concern. 
No  fact  has  been  told  which  has  not  this  significance. 
No  line  has  been  written  for  the  sake  of  writing  it. 
But  as  I  cease,  I  feel  more  keenly  even  than  when  I 
began,  how  inadequate  is  any  one  hand,  however  con- 
scientious, to  trace  two  lives  so  delicately  and  variously 
tinted,  to  portray  two  souls  so  finely  veined  with  a 

many-shaded  deep  humanitv. 

M.  C  A. 
October,  1872. 


CONTENTS 


CHAPTER  L  paqs 

I*HK     HOUSE     OF     THEIR      BIRTH.  —  THEIR      FATHER     AND 
MOTHER.  —  ANCESTRY,   CHILDHOOD,  AND    EARLY   YOUTH.         X 

CHAPTER   II. 

EARLY   STRUGGLES  AND   SUCCESS 20 

CHAPTER   HI.. 

THEIR    HOME.  —  HABITS    OF    LIFE    AND    OF    LABOR.  —  THE 
SUMMER  OF    1869 38 

CHAPTER    IV. 

THEIR   SUNDAY   EVENING    RECEPTIONS 59 

CHAPTER   V. 

ALICE  CARY.  —  THE   WOMAN 70 

CHAPTER   VI. 

ALICE   CARY. — THE   WRITER 99 

CHAPTER   VII. 

ALICE'S   LAST   SUMMER I30 

CHAPTER    VIII. 

ALICE'S    DEATH    AND    BUKIAI I4I 

CHAPTER   IX 

PHOEBE   CARY.  — THE   WRITER     .  .  ...  1^5 

CHAPTER   X. 

^H'EUE    CAKV.  -  TBI    WOMAN 183 


X  CONTENTS, 

CHAPTER    XI. 

PHCEBE'S   LAST   SUMMER.  —  DEATH   AND   BURIAL         .  208 

CHAPTER    XII. 

THE  SISTERS   COMPARED.  —  THEIR   LAST   RESTING-PLACE        .    228 


LATER   POEMS   BY    ALICE   CARY. 

BALLADS   AND   LOVE   SONGS 

the  might  of  love 239 

"the  grace  wife  of  keith  " 242 

johnny  right 245 

the  lover's  interdict 249 

the  settler's  christmas  eve '  .  252 

the  old  story        . 257 

balder's  wife 258 

POEMS   OF  THOUGHT. 

UNDER  THE  SHADOW 260 

GOD   IS   LOVE 262 

LIFE'S   MYSTERIES  . 264 

POEMS   OF   NATURE   AND    HOME. 

A  DREAM   OF   HOME 267 

EVENING   PASTIMES 268 

FADED    LEAVES 269 

THE   LIGHT   OF   DAYS   GONE    BY 270 

A   SEA    SONG 272 

SERMONS   IN    STONES 273 

MY   PICTURE .  .    274 

MORNING    IN   THE   MOUNTAINS  ...  .         276 

THE  THISTLE   FLOWER 278 

MY    DARLINGS "  279 

THE   FIELD   SWEET-BRIER .    281 

THE   LITTLE   HOUSE   ON   THE   HILL 283 

THE  OLD   HOUSE 284 


CONTENTS.  xi 

FOR   THE   LOST. 

LOST   LILIES 286 

A  WONDER       .  288 

MOST   BELOVED 289 

MY   DARLINGS  29I 

IN   DESPAIR .         292 

WAIT        .  293 

RELIGIOUS   POEMS. 

THE  GOLDEN   MEAN 295 

THE  FIRE  BY  THE   SEA 297 

THE  SURE  WITNESS 299 

ONE  DUST         • 3OO 

MY  CREED 3OI 

LAST   POEMS. 

SPENT  AND   MISSPENT ,  303 

LAST  AND   BEST 3O4 

IN  THE   DARK 305 

AN    INVALID'S   PLEA 307 

THE   GREAT  QUESTION 308 

A   PENITENT'S   PLEA 309 

PUTTING   OFF  THE  ARMOR 3II 


LATER   POEMS   BY    PHCEBE   CARY. 
BALLADS 

THE   CHRISTMAS   SHEAF 315 

LHTLE  GOTTLIEB 319 

RELIGIOUS   POEMS 

CHRISTMAS 323 

PRODIGALS 325 

IT.    BERNARD   OF   CLAIRVAUX 327 

OLD  PICTURES 32S 

THE   PLAYMATES 33 1 

'THE    BAREFOOT   BOY" 333 


XU  CONTENTS. 


LOVE    POEMS. 


amy's  love-letter 335 

do  you  blame  her  ? 337 

SONG 338 

somebody's  lovers 339 

LAST  POEMS. 

nobody's  child 341 

john  g.  whittier        .        .......  1a2 

thou  know2st 343 

LIGHT .  345 

WAITING  THi4  CHANGE 346 

THOU   AND  I  ...  348 

SPRING   FLOWERS  ....  .        3£0 


A   MEMORIAL 

OF 

ALICE    AND    PHCEBE    CARY. 


CHAPTER  I. 

THE  HOUSE  OF  THEIR  BIRTH.  —  THEIR  FATHER  AND 
MOTHER.  —  ANCESTRY,  CHILDHOOD,  AND  EARLY 
YOUTH. 

IN  a  brown  house,  "  low  and  small,"  on  a  farm  in 
the  Miami  Valley,  eight  miles  north  of  Cincinnati, 
Ohio,  Alice  Cary  was  born  on  the  26th  day  of  April, 
1820.  In  the  same  house,  September  4,  1824,  was 
born  her  sister  and  life-long  companion,  Phoebe. 

This  house  appeared  and  reappeared  in  the  verse 
of  both  sisters,  till  their  last  lines  were  written.  Their 
affection  for  it  was  a  deep  and  life-long  emotion. 
Each  sister,  within  the  blinds  of  a  city  house,  used  to 
shut  her  eyes  and  listen  till  she  thought  she  heard  the 
rustle  of  the  cherry-tree  on  the  old  roof,  and  smelled 
again  the  sweet-brier  under  the  window.  You  will  re- 
alize how  perfectly  it  was  daguerreotyped  on  Phoebe's 
heart  when  you  follow  two  of  the  many  pictures  which 
she  has  left  of  it.  Phoebe  says  :  "  The  house  was 
small,  unpainted,  without  the  slightest  pretensions  to 
architectural  beauty.  It  was  one  story  and  a  half  in 
1 


2  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE    CARY. 

height,  the  front  looking  toward  the  west  and  sep- 
arated from  the  high  road  by  a  narrow  strip  of  door- 
yard  grass.  A  low  porch  ran  across  the  north  of  the 
house,  and  from  the  steps  of  this  a  path  of  blue  flag- 
stones led  to  a  cool,  unfailing  well  of  water  a  few 
yards  distant.  Close  to  the  walls,  on  two  sides,  and 
almost  pushing  their  strong,  thrifty  boughs  through 
the  little  attic  window,  flourished  several  fruitful  apple 
and  cherry  trees ;  and  a  luxuriant  sweet-brier,  the  only 
thing  near  that  seemed  designed  solely  for  ornament, 
almost  covered  the  other  side  of  the  house.  Beyond 
the  door-yard,  and  sloping  toward  the  south,  lay  a 
small  garden,  with  two  straight  rows  of  currant  bushes 
dividing  its  entire  length,  and  beds  of  vegetables  laid 
out  on  either  side.  Close  against  the  fence  nearest 
the  yard  grew  several  varieties  of  roses,  and  a  few 
hardy  and  common  flowers  bordered  the  walks.  In 
one  corner  a  thriving  peach-tree  threw  in  summer  its 
shade  over  a  row  of  bee-hives,  and  in  another  its 
withered  mate  was  supported  and  quite  hidden  by  a 
fragrant  bower  of  hop  vines.  A  little  in  the  rear  of 
the  dwelling  stood  the  ample,  weather-beaten  barn, 
the  busy  haunt  of  the  restless  swallows  and  quiet, 
comfortable  doves,  and  in  all  seasons  the  never-failing 
resort  of  the  children.  A  stately  and  symmetrical 
oak,  which  had  been  kindly  spared  from  the  forest 
when  the  clearing  for  the  house  was  made,  grew  near 
it,  and  in  the  summer  threw  its  thick,  cool  shadow 
over  the  road,  making  a  grateful  shade  for  the  tired 
traveller,  and  a  pleasant  playground  for  the  children, 
whose  voices,  now  so  many  of  them  stilled,  once  made 
life  and  music  there  through  all  the  livelong  day." 


THE  HOUSE   OF  THEIR  BIRTH 


OUR   HOMESTEAD. 

Our  old  brown  homestead  reared  its  walls 

From  the  wayside  dust  aloof, 
Where  the  apple-boughs  could  almost  cast 

Their  fruit  upon  its  roof; 
And  the  cherry-tree  so  near  it  grew 

That,  when  awake  I've  lain 
In  the  lonesome  nights,  I've  heard  the  iimos 

As  they  creaked  against  the  pane ; 
And  those  orchard  trees  !  O,  those  orchard  trees  1 

I've  seen  my  little  brothers  rocked 
In  their  tops  by  the  summer  breeze. 

The  sweet-brier  under  the  window-sill, 

Which  the  early  birds  made  glad, 
And  the  damask  rose  by  the  garden  fence, 

Were  all  the  flowers  we  had. 
I've  looked  at  many  a  flower  since  then, 

Exotics  rich  and  rare, 
That  to  other  eyes  were  lovelier, 

But  not  to  me  so  fair  j 
For  those  roses  bright !  O,  those  roses  bright ! 

I  have  twined  them  in  my  sister's  locks 
That  are  hid  in  the  dust  from  sight. 

We  had  a  well  —  a  deep,  old  well, 

Where  the  spring  was  never  dry, 
And  the  cool  drops  down  from  the  mossy  stones 

Were  falling  constantly  : 
And  there  never  was  water  half  so  sweet 

As  the  draught  which  filled  my  cup, 
Drawn  up  to  the  curb  by  the  rude,  old  sweep, 


4  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

That  my  father's  hand  set  up ; 
And  that  deep,  old  well !  O,  that  deep,  old  well  I 

I  remember  now  the  plashing  sound 
Of  the  bucket  as  it  fell. 

Our  homestead  had  an  ample  hearth, 

Where  at  night  we  loved  to  meet ; 
There  my  mother's  voice  was  always  kind, 

And  her  smile  was  always  sweet ; 
And  there  I've  sat  on  my  father's  knee, 

And  watched  his  thoughtful  brow, 
Witn  my  childish  hand  in  his  raven  hair  — 

That  hair  is  silver,  now  ! 
But  that  broad  hearth's  light !  O,  that  broad  hearth's 
light ! 

And  my  father's  look,  and  my  mother's  smile, 
They  are  in  my  heart,  to-night ! 

In  her  "  Order  for  a  Picture,"  which  was  her  fa- 
vorite among  all  the  poems  she  had  ever  written,  Alice 
has  given  us  another  reflection  of  her  first  home  upon 
earth,  and  its  surroundings  :  — 

"  O,  good  painter,  tell  me  true, 

Has  your  hand  the  cunning  to  draw 
Shapes  of  things  that  you  never  saw  ? 
Aye  ?     Well,  here  is  an  order  for  you. 

u  Woods  and  cornfields,  a  little  brown  — 
The  picture  must  not  be  over-bright  — 
Yet  all  in  the  golden  and  gracious  light 
Of  a  cloud,  when  the  summer  sun  is  down. 
Alway  and  alway,  night  and  morn, 
Woods  upon  woods,  with  fields  of  corn 


THEIR  FATHER  AND  MOTHER.  5 

Lying  between  them,  not  quite  sere, 
And  not  in  the  full,  thick,  leafy  bloom, 
When  the  wind  can  hardly  find  breathing-room 

Under  their  tassels,  —  cattle  near, 

Biting  shorter  the  short,  green  grass, 

And  a  hedge  of  sumach  and  sassafras, 

With  bluebirds  twittering  all  around, — 

(Ah,  good  painter,  you  can't  paint  sound !)  — 

These,  and  the  house  where  I  was  born, 

Low  and  little,  and  black  and  old, 

With  children  many  as  it  can  hold, 

All  at  the  windows  open  wide,  — 

Heads  and  shoulders  clear  outside : 

And  fair  young  faces  all  ablush  : 

Perhaps  you  may  have  seen,  sorne  day, 
Roses  crowding  the  self-same  way, 

Out  of  a  wilding,  wayside  bush." 

In  such  a  home  were  born  Alice  and  Phoebe  Cary  \ 
Alice,  the  fourth,  and  Phoebe,  the  sixth  child  of  Robert 
Cary  and  Elizabeth  Jessup,  his  wife. 

Phoebe,  in  her  precious  memorial  of  Alice,  gives 
this  picture  of  their  father  and  mother  :  "  Robert  Cary 
was  a  man  of  superior  intelligence,  of  sound  princi- 
ples, and  blameless  life.  He  was  very  fond  of  read- 
ing, especially  romances  and  poetry  j  but  early  poverty 
and  the  hard  exigencies  of  pioneer  life  had  left  him 
no  time  for  acquiring  anything  more  than  the  mere 
rudiments  of  a  common  school  education  ;  and  the 
consciousness  of  his  want  of  culture,  and  an  invincible 
diffidence  born  with  him,  gwo.  him  a  shrinking,  retir- 
ing manner,  and  a  want  of  confidence  in  his  own 
judgment,  which  was  inherited  to  a  large  measure  by 


6  ALICh   AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

his  offspring.  He  was  a  tender,  loving  father,  who 
sang  his  children  to  sleep  with  holy  hymns,  and  habit- 
ually went  about  his  work  repeating  the  grand  old 
Hebrew  poets,  and  the  sweet  and  precious  promises 
of  the  New  Testament  of  our  Lord."  Ada  Carna- 
han,  the  child  of  Robert  and  Elizabeth  Cary's  oldest 
daughter,  who  inherits  in  no  small  degree  the  fine 
mental  gifts  of  her  family,  in  her  admirable  sketch  of 
her  Aunt  Phoebe,  published  in  the  Boston  "  Ladies' 
Repository,"  says  of  this  father  of  poets :  "  When  he 
had  no  longer  children  in  his  arms,  he  still  went  on 
singing  to  himself,  and  held  in  his  heart  the  words 
that  he  had  so  often  repeated.  For  him  the  common 
life  of  a  farmer  was  idealized  into  poetry ;  springtime 
and  harvest  were  ever  recurring  miracles,  and  dumb 
animals  became  companionable.  Horses  and  cattle 
loved  him,  and  would  follow  him  all  over  the  farm, 
sure  to  receive  at  least  a  kind  word  or  gentle  pat,  and 
perhaps  a  few  grains  of  corn,  or  a  lump  of  salt  or 
sugar;  and  there  was  no  colt  so  shy  that  would  not  eat 
out  of  his  hand,  and  rub  its  head  caressingly  against 
his  shoulder.  Of  his  children,  Alice  the  most  resem- 
bled him  in  person,  and  all  the  tender  and  close  sym- 
pathy with  nature,  and  with  humanity,  which  in  hei 
found  expression,  had  in  him  an  existence  as  real,  if 
voiceless.  In  his  youth  he  must  have  been  handsome. 
He  was  six  feet  in  height,  and  well  proportioned,  with 
curling  black  hair,  bright  brown  eyes,  slightly  aquiline 
nose,  and  remarkably  beautiful  teeth."  Those  who 
saw  him  in  New  York,  in  the  home  of  his  daughters, 
remember  him  a  silver-haired,  sad-eyed,  soft-voiced 
patriarch,  remarkable  for  the  gentleness  of  his  man- 
ners, and  the  emotional  tenderness  of  his  tempera 


THEIR   FATHER  AND   MOTHER.  J 

ment.  Tears  rose  to  his  eyes,  smiles  flitted  across  his 
face,  precisely  as  they  did  in  the  face  of  Alice.  He 
was  the  prototype  of  Alice.  In  her  was  reproduced 
not  only  his  form  and  features,  but  his  mental,  moral, 
and  emotional  nature.  To  see  father  and  daughter 
together,  one  would  involuntarily  exclaim,  "  How 
alike  !  "  They  loved  to  be  together.  It  was  a  delight 
to  the  father  to  take  that  long  journey  from  the  West- 
ern farm  to  the  New  York  home.  Here,  for  the  first 
time,  he  found  reproduced  in  reality  many  of  the 
dreams  of  his  youth.  Nothing  gavre  greater  delight 
to  his  daughters  than  "  to  take  father  "  to  see  pictures, 
to  visit  friends,  and  to  join  in  evening  receptions.  In 
the  latter  he  took  especial  pleasure,  when  he  could  sit 
in  an  arm-chair  and  survey  the  bright  scene  before 
him.  He  had  poet  eyes  to  see,  and  a  poet's  heart  to 
feel  the  beauty  of  woman.  Alice  had  a  friend  whom 
he  never  mentioned  save  as  "  your  friend  the  pretty 
woman."  He  was  informed,  one  evening,  at  a  small 
party,  that  the  beautiful  young  lady  whom  he  was  ad- 
miring, and  who  looked  about  twenty-five,  was  a  happy 
matron  and  the  mother  of  a  grown-up  son.  His  look 
of  childlike  amazement  was  irresistible.  "  Well,  well," 
he  exclaimed,  "  mothers  of  grown-up  sons  never  looked 
as  young  as  that  in  my  day !  " 

The  wife  of  this  man,  the  mother  of  Alice  and 
Phoebe  Cary,  was  blue-eyed  and  beautiful.  Her  chil- 
dren lived  to  rise  up  and  call  her  blessed.  Alice  said 
of  her  :  "  My  mother  was  a  woman  of  superior  intel- 
'ect  and  of  good,  well-ordered  life.  In  my  memory 
she  stands  apart  from  all  others,  wiser,  purer,  doing 
more,  and  living  better  than  any  other  woman."  And 
this  is  her  portrait  of  her  mother  in  her  "  Order  for  a 
Picture  :  " 


8  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

"  A  lady,  the  loveliest  ever  the  sun 
Looked  down  upon,  you  must  paint  for  me  : 
O,  if  I  only  could  make  you  see 

The  clear  blue  eyes,  the  tender  smile, 
The  sovereign  sweetness,  the  gentle  grace, 
The  woman's  soul,  and  the  angel's  face 

That  are  beaming  on  me  all  the  while, 
I  need  not  speak  these  foolish  words : 

Yet  one  word  tells  you  all  I  would  say, 
She  is  my  mother :  you  will  agree 

That  all  the  rest  may  be  thrown  away." 

Phcebe  said  of  her  :  "  She  was  the  wonder  of  my 
childhood.  She  is  no  less  a  wonder  to  me  as  I  recall 
her  now.  How  she  did  so  much  work,  and  yet  did  it 
well ;  how  she  reared  carefully,  and  governed  wisely, 
so  large  a  family  of  children,  and  yet  found  time  to 
develop  by  thought  and  reading  a  mind  of  unusual 
strength  and  clearness,  is  still  a  mystery  to  me.  She 
was  fond  of  history,  politics,  moral  essays,  biography, 
and  works  of  religious  controversy.  Poetry  she  read, 
but  cared  little  for  fictitious  literature.  An  exemplary 
housewife,  a  wise  and  kind  mother,  she  left  no  duty 
unfulfilled,  yet  she  found  time,  often  at  night,  after 
every  other  member  of  the  household  was  asleep,  by 
reading,  to  keep  herself  informed  of  all  the  issues  of 
the  day,  political,  social,  and  religious."  When  we 
remember  that  the  woman  who  kept  herself  informed 
of  all  the  issues  of  the  day,  political,  social,  and  relig- 
ious, was  the  mother  of  nine  children,  a  housewife,  who 
performed  the  labor  of  her  large  household  with  her 
own  hands ;  that  she  lived  in  a  rural  neighborhood, 
wherein  personal  and  family  topics  were  the  supreme 


THE   CARY  ANCESTRY.  9 

subjects  of  discussion,  aloof  from  the  larger  interests 
and  busy  thoroughfares  of  men,  we  can  form  a  juster 
estimate  of  the  superiority  of  her  natural  powers,  and 
the  native  breadth  of  her  mind  and  heart. 

Such  were  the  father  and  mother  of  Alice  and 
Phoebe  Cary.  From  their  father  they  inherited  the 
poetic  temperament,  the  love  of  nature,  and  of  dumb 
creatures,  their  loving  and  pitying  hearts,  which  were 
so  large  that  they  enfolded  all  breathing  and  unbreath- 
ing  things.  From  their  mother  they  inherited  their 
interest  in  public  affairs,  their  passion  for  justice,  their 
devotion  to  truth  and  duty  as  they  saw  it,  their  clear 
perceptions,  and  sturdy  common  sense. 

Blended  with  their  personal  love  for  their  father  and 
mother,  was  an  ingenuous  pride  and  delight  in  their 
ancestry.  They  were  proud  of  their  descent.  This 
was  especially  true  of  Phoebe.  With  all  her  personal ' 
modesty,  which  was  very  marked,  pride  of  race  was  one 
of  Phcebe  Cary's  distinguishing  traits.  She  was  proud 
of  the  Cary  coat-of-arms,  which  hung  framed  in  the 
little  library  in  Twentieth  Street ;  prouder*  still  to  trace 
her  name  from  the  true  and  gentle  father  who  gave  it 
to  her,  to  the  John  Cary  who  taught  the  first  Latin 
school  in  Plymouth,  and  from  him  to  the  gallant  Sir 
Robert  Cary,  who  vanquished  a  chevalier  of  Aragon, 
in  the  reign  of  Henry  V.,  in  Smithfield,  London.  A 
friend,  in  a  former  biographical  sketch  of  the  two  sis- 
ters, referring  to  this  knight,  said  that  the  genealogy 
which  connected  him  with  the  American  Cary  family 
"  is  at  best  unverified."  In  private,  Phcebe  often  re- 
ferred to  this  published  doubt  with  considerable  feeling. 

"  Why  do  you  care  ? "  asked  a  friend.  "  The  con 
queror  of  the  Knight  of  Aragon  cannot  make  you 
more  or  less." 


IO  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  But  I  do  care,"  she  said.  "  He  was  my  ancestor 
it  has  been  proved.  He  bore  the  same  name  as  my  own 
father.  I  don't  like  to  have  any  doubt  cast  upon  it 
It  is  a  great  comfort  to  me  to  know  that  we  sprung  from 
a  noble,  not  an  ignoble  race."  This  fact  was  so  much 
to  her  in  life,  it  seems  but  just  that  she  should  have  the 
full  benefit  of  it  in  death.  Thus  is  given  the  entire 
story  of  the  Knight  of  Aragon,  as  printed  in  Burke's 
"  Heraldry,"  with  the  complete  genealogy  of  the  branch 
of  the  American  Cary  family  to  which  Alice  and 
Phcebe  belong :  — 

John  Cary,  a  lineal  descendant  of  Sir  Thomas  Cary, 
(a  cousin  of  Queen  Elizabeth),  came  to  the  Plymouth 
Colony  in  1630,  was  prominent  and  influential  among 
the  I\igrim  Fathers.  He  was  thoroughly  educated  — 
taught  the  first  Latin  class,  and  held  important  offices 
in  the  town  and  church.  He  married  Elizabeth,  a 
daughter  of  Francis  Godfrey,  in  1644.  He  died  in 
Bridgewater,  in  168 1,  aged  80  years. 

SECOND    GENERATION. 

Joseph,  the  ninth  child  of  John,  born  in  Plymouth, 
in  1665,  emigrated  to  Connecticut,  and  was  one  of  the 
original  proprietors  of  the  town  of  Windham.  At  the 
organization  of  the  first  church  in  Windham,  in  the 
year  1700,  he  was  chosen  deacon.  He  was  a  useful 
and  very  prominent  man.     He  died  in  1722. 

THIRD    GENERATION. 

John,  the  fourth  child  of  Joseph,  born  in  Windham, 
Connecticut,  June  23,  1695,  married  Hannah  Thurs- 
ton, resided  in  Windham,  was  a  man  of  wealth  and 


THE   CARY  ANCESTRY.  II 

influence  in  the  church  and  in  public  affajs.     He  died 
m  1776,  aged  81  years. 

FOURTH    GENERATION. 

Samuel,  the  ninth  child  of  John,  born  June  13,  1734, 
graduated  at  Yale  College  in  the  class  of  1755,  was  a 
physician,  eminent  in  his  profession  ;  married  Deliver- 
ance Grant,  in  Bolton,  Connecticut,  and  emigrated  to 
Lyme,  New  Hampshire,  among  the  first  co^nists, 
where  he  died  in   1784. 

FIFTH    GENERATION. 

Christopher,  the  eldest  child  of  Samuel,  born  Feb- 
ruary 25,  1763,  joined  the  army  at  an  early  age,  under 
Colonel  Waite  of  New  Hampshire  ;  was  t£ken  prisoner 
by  the  British,  and  suffered  great  hardships.  He 
married  Elsie  Terrel,  at  Lyme,  New  Hampshire,  in 
1784,  removed  with  his  family  to  Cincinnati,  Ohio,  in 
1802,  died  at  College  Hill,  Ohio,  in  1837. 

SIXTH    GENERATION. 

Robert,  the  second  child  of  Christopher,  born  Jan- 
uary 24,  1787,  emigrated  with  his  father  to  the  North- 
west Teiritory,  in  1802,  settled  upon  a  farm  near 
Mount  Healihy,  Hamilton  County,  Ohio,  married 
Elizabeth  Jessup  in  18 14,  was  a  soldier  in  the  war  of 
18 1 2,  and  was  at  Hull's  surrender.  He  died  in  1866. 
Their  children  were  :  — 

1.  Rowena,  born  18 14,  married  Carnahan,  died  1869. 

2.  Susan,  born  18 16,  married  Alex.  Swift,  died  1852. 

3.  Rhoda,  born  1818,  died  1833. 

4.  Alice,  born  1820,  died  187 1. 

$.  Asa,  born  1822,  living  at  Mount  Pleasant,  Ohio. 


12  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

6.  Phoebe,  born  1824,  died  1871. 

7.  Warren,  born  1826,  living  near  Harrison,  Ohicy 

8.  Lucy,  born  1829,  died  1833. 

9.  Elmina,  born  183 1,  married  Alex.  Swift,  and  died 

1862. 

"  In  the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  Henry  V.,  a 
certain  knight-errant  of  Aragon,  having  passed  through 
divers  countries  and  performed  many  feats  of  arms, 
to  his  high  commendation,  arrived  here  in  England, 
where  he  challenged  any  man  of  his  rank  and  quality 
to  make  trial  of  his  valor  and  skill  in  arms.  This 
challenge  Sir  Robert  Cary  accepted,  between  whom  a 
cruel  encounter  and  a  long  and  doubtful  combat  was 
waged  in  Smithfield,  London.  But  at  length  this 
noble  champion  vanquished  the  presumptuous  Ara- 
gonois,  for  which  King  Henry  V.  restored  unto  him 
a  good  part  of  his  father's  lands,  which,  for  his  loyalty 
to  Richard  II.,  he  had  been  deprived  by  Henry  IV., 
and  authorized  him  to  bear  the  arms  of  the  Knight 
of  Aragon,  which  the  noble  posterity  continue  to 
wear  unto  this  day  ;  for,  according  to  the  laws  of  her- 
aldry, whoever  fairly  in  the  field  conquers  his  adver- 
sary, may  justify  the  wearing  of  his  arms." 

Phoebe  had  the  Cary  coat  of  arms  engraved  on  a 
seal  ring,  which  was  taken  from  her  finger  after  death 

You  see  that  it  happened  to  the  Cary  family,  as  to 
many  another  of  long  descent,  that  it  emerged  from 
the  vicissitudes  of  time  and  toil,  poor,  possessing  no 
finer  weapon  to  vanquish  hostile  fate  than  the  in- 
trinsic temper  of  its  inherited  quality,  the  precious 
metal  of  honesty,  industry,  integrity,  bravery,  honor  — 


THE   CARY  ANCESTRY.  1 3 

n  fine,  true  manhood.  The  great-grandfather  of  Alice 
and  Phoebe,  Samuel  Cary,  was  graduated  from  Yale. 
A  physician  by  profession,  in  Lyme,  New  Hampshire, 
he  seems  to  have  been  the  last  of  the  manifold  "  Cary 
boys "  who  possessed  the  advantages  of  a  liberal 
education.  His  eldest  son,  Christopher,  entered  the 
army  of  the  Revolution  at  the  age  of  eighteen.  When 
peace  was  won,  the  young  man  received  not  money, 
but  a  land  grant,  or  warrant,  in  Hamilton  County, 
Ohio,  as  his  recompense.  The  necessity  of  poverty 
probably  compelled  Christopher  to  the  lot  of  a  tiller 
of  the  soil. 

And  even  Phoebe,  if  she  thought  of  it,  must  have 
acknowledged  that  this  grandsire  of  hers,  who  went 
into  the  army  of  freedom  to  fight  the  battles  of  his 
country  at  eighteen,  who,  when  liberty  was  won,  went 
to  struggle  with  the  earth,  to  wrest  from  the  wilder- 
ness a  home  for  himself  and  his  children,  was  an  an- 
cestor more  worthy  of  her  admiration  and  pride  than 
even  the  doughty  Sir  Robert,  who  fought  with  and 
overcame  the  Knight  of  Aragon.  The  editor  of  the 
"Central  Christian  Advocate,"  in  writing  of  the  death 
of  Alice,  says  :  — 

"  We  remember  well  her  grandfather,  and  the  house 
at  the  foot  of  the  great  hill,  where  his  land  grant  was 
located.  In  early  boyhood  we  often  climbed  the  hills, 
and  sometimes  listened  to  the  conversation  of  the 
somewhat  rough  and  rugged  soldier,  whom  we  all 
called    'Uncle  Christopher.'" 

Robert  Cary  came  with  his  father,  Christopher,  from 
New  Hampshire  to  the  wilderness  of  Ohio  in  1803,  at 
the  age  of  fifteen.  Says  his  granddaughter,  Ada  Car- 
nahan:    "They  travelled    in    an    emigrant   wagon  to 


14  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Pittsfield,  and  descending  the  river  on  a  flat-boat, 
arrived  at  Fort  Washington.  This  was  a  thriving  set- 
tlement, though  its  people  had  hardly  ceased  to  depend 
on  its  fort  for  protection  from  the  savages,  who  still 
infested  the  surrounding  forests  and  made  occasional 
incursions  into  its  immediate  neighborhood."  Here, 
for  several  years,  the  family  remained,  before  making 
a  purchase  of  lands  some  eight  miles  north  of  the  set- 
tlement, on  what  is  still  known  as  the  Hamilton  Road. 

Robert  Cary  and  Elizabeth  Jessup  were  married 
January  13,  18 14,  and  began  their  married  life  upon  a 
quarter  section  of  the  original  Cary  purchase,  the  same 
land  which  will  be  remembered  for  many  generations 
as  the  Clovernook  of  Alice  Cary's  stories.  Again 
says  Ada  Carnahan :  "  In  the  comparatively  short 
time  that  had  elapsed,  there  had  been  most  marvelous 
changes  in  all  this  vicinity.  The  red- man  had  disap- 
peared. Log  cabins  and  their  surrounding  clearings 
were  scattered  all  over  the  region,  while  here  and  there 
might  be  seen  a  more  pretentious  frame  dwelling.  One 
of  the  latter  Robert  Cary  reared  for  his  home,  which 
it  continued  to  be  for  eighteen  years,  during  which  his 
nine  children  were  born.  The  farm  upon  which  Rob- 
ert and  Elizabeth  Cary  began  life  was  not,  however,  a 
gift,  and  it  was  the  work  of  many  laborious  years  to 
clear  it  from  the  incumbrance  of  debt  —  years  which 
could  not  but  make  their  impression  upon  their  rising 
family,  and  inculcate  those  lessons  of  perseverance, 
industry,  and  economy,  which  are  the  very  foundations 
of  success."  .... 

"  As  is  almost  always  the  case  in  large  families, 
the  Cary  children  divided  themselves  into  groups  and 
couples,   as    age   and   disposition    dictated.     In   this 


CHILDHOOD.  15 

grouping,  Alice  and  Phoebe,  afterwards  to  be  brought 
into  such  close  communion  of  life  and  thought,  were 
separated.  Alice's  passionate  devotion,  in  life  and 
death  to  the  sister  next  older  than  herself  is  well 
known,  while  Phoebe,  standing  between  her  two  broth- 
ers, turned  toward  the  younger  of  these,  whom  she 

made    her  constant   playfellow The  children 

were  much  together  in  the  open  air,  and  were  inti- 
mately acquainted  with  every  nook  and  corner  of  their 
father's  farm.  They  gathered  wild  flowers  in  May- 
time,  and  nuts  in  October,  and  learned  to  love  the 
company  of  trees  and  blossoms,  birds  and  insects, 
and  became  deeply  imbued  with  the  love  of  nature. 
They  were  sensitive  and  imaginative,  and  it  may  well 
be  that  they,  at  least  two  of  them,  saw  more  beauty, 
and  heard  more  melody  in  nature  than  every  eye  is 
open  to  perceive.  As  they  grew  older,  this  kind  of 
holiday  life  was  interrupted  by  occasional  attendance 
upon  the  district  school,  and  by  instruction  in  such 
household  employments  as  were  deemed  indispensable 
—  in  knitting,  sewing,  spinning,  cooking,  churning, 
etc.  Of  all  these,  Phoebe  only  became  proficient  in 
the  first  two.  In  both  these  she  took  pleasure  up  to 
Ihe  time  of  her  last  illness,  and  in  both  she  was  un- 
usually dexterous  and  neat,  as  well  as  in  penmanship, 
showing  in  these  respects  a  marked  contrast  to  Alice. 
The  school-house  in  which  they  gained  the  rudiments 
of  an  English  education  was  distant  a  mile  and  a 
quarter  from  their  home.  The  plain,  one  story,  brick 
building  is  still  used  for  school  purposes.  This  dis- 
tance was  always  walked.  Upon  her  last  visit  to  this 
vicinity,  in  1867,  Phoebe  Cary  pointed  out  to  me  a 
goodly  forest  tree,  growing  at  one  side,  but  in   the 


l6  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

highway,  and  told  how,  when  they  were  returning 
from  school,  one  day,  Alice  found  lying  in  the  road  a 
freshly  cut  switch,  and  picked  it  up,  saying,  '  Let  us 
stick  it  in  the  ground  and  see  if  it  will  grow ; '  and  im- 
mediately acting  on  her  own  suggestion,  she  stuck  it 
in  the  ground ;  and  there,  after  more  than  thirty-five 
years,  it  stood,  a  graceful  and  fitting  monument  to  the 
gracious  and  tender  nature  which  bade  it  live. 

"In  the  autumn  of  1832,  by  persevering  industry 
and  frugal  living,  the  farm  was  at  last  paid  for,  and  a 
new  and  more  commodious  dwelling  erected  for  the 
reception  of  the  family,  grown  too  large  to  be  longer 
sheltered  by  the  old  roof-tree.  This  new  dwelling, 
which  is  still  standing,  is  no  more  than  the  plainest  of 
farm-houses,  built  at  a  time  when  the  family  were 
obliged  to  board  the  builders,  and  the  bricks  were 
burned  on  the  spot ;  yet  it  represents  a  degree  of 
comfort  only  attained  after  a  long  struggle." 

"  It  cost  many  years  of  toil  and  privation  —  the  new 
house.  We  thought  it  the  beginning  of  better  times. 
Instead,  all  the  sickness  and  death  in  the  family  dates 
from  the  time  that  it  was  finished.  It  seems  as  if 
nothing  but  trouble  and  sorrow  have  come  since,"  said 
Alice  Cary,  late  in  the  autumn  of  1869,  to  a  friend, 
as  her  starry  eyes  shone  out  from  her  pallid  face,  amid 
the  delicate  laces  of  her  pillow,  in  the  chamber  on 
Twentieth  Street. 

"  Before  that  time  I  had  two  sources  of  unalloyed 
happiness  :  the  companionship  of  my  sister  Rhoda, 
and  the  care  of  my  little  sister  Lucy.  I  shall  always 
think  Rhoda  was  the  most  gifted  of  all  our  family. 
The  stories  that  she  used  to  tell  me  on  our  way  home 
from  school  had  in  them  the  germ  of  the  most  won- 


A   GHOST  STORY.  i? 

derful  novels  —  of  better  novels  than  we  read  nowa- 
days. When  we  saw  the  house  in  sight,  we  would  often 
sit  down  under  a  tree,  that  she  might  have  more  time 
to  finish  the  story.  My  anxiety  concerning  the  fate  of 
the  people  in  it  was  often  so  great  I  could  not  possibly 
wait  to  have  it  continued.  At  another  time  it  would 
take  her  days  together  to  tell  one  story.  Rhoda  was 
very  handsome  ;  her  great,  dark  eyes  would  shine  with 
excitement  as  she  went  on.  For  myself,  by  the  time 
she  had  finished,  I  was  usually  dissolved  in  tears  over 
the  tragic  fate  of  her  heroes  and  heroines.  Lucy  was 
golden-haired  and  blue-eyed,  the  only  one  who  looked 
like  our  mother.  I  was  not  fourteen  when  she  died 
—  I'm  almost  fifty,  now.  It  may  seem  strange  when 
I  tell  you  that  I  don't  believe  that  there  has  been  an 
hour  of  any  day  since  her  death  in  which  I  have  not 
thought  of  her  and  mourned  for  her.  Strange,  isn't 
it,  that  the  life  and  death  of  a  little  child  not  three 
years  old  could  take  such  a  hold  on  another  life  ?  I 
have  never  lost  the  consciousness  of  the  presence  of 
that  child. 

"That  makes  me  think  of  our  ghost  story.  Almost 
every  family  has  a  ghost  story,  you  know  ?  Ours 
has  more  than  one,  but  the  one  foreshadowed  all  the 
others." 

"  Do  tell  it  to  me,"  said  the  friend  sitting  by  her 
bed. 

"  Well,  the  new  house  was  just  finished,  but  we  had 
not  moved  into  it.  There  had  been  a  violent  shower ; 
father  had  come  home  from  the  field,  and  everybody 
had  come  in  out  of  the  rain.  I  think  it  was  about 
cour  in  the  afternoon,  when  the  storm  ceased  and  the 
sun  shone  out.     The  new  house  stood  on  the  edge  of 


1 8  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

a  ravine,  and  the  sun  was  shining  full  upon  it,  when 
some  one  in  the  family  called  out  and  asked  how 
Rhoda  and  Lucy  came  to  be  over  in  the  new  house, 
and  the  door  open.  Upon  this  all  the  rest  of  the 
family  rushed  to  the  front  door,  and  there,  across  the 
"ravine,  in  the  open  door  of  the  new  house,  stood 
Rhoda  with  Lucy  in  her  arms.  Some  one  said,  '  She 
♦nust  have  come  from  the  sugar  camp,  and  has  taken 
shelter  there  with  Lucy  from  the  rain.'  Upon  this 
anothei  called  out,  '  Rhoda ! '  but  she  did  not  answer. 
While  we  were  gazing  and  talking  and  calling,  Rhoda 
herself  came  down-stairs,  where  she  had  left  Lucy  fast 
asleep,  and  stood  with  us  while  we  all  saw,  in  the  full 
blaze  of  the  sun,  the  woman  with  the  child  in  her  arms 
slowly  sink,  sink,  sink  into  the  ground,  until  she  dis- 
appeared trom  sight.  Then  a  great  silence  fell  upon 
us  all.  hi  our  hearts  we  all  believed  it  to  be  a  warn- 
ing of  sonow  —  of  what,  we  knew  not.  When  Rhoda 
and  Lucy  both  died,  then  we  knew.  Rhoda  died  the 
next  autumn,  November  n  ;  Lucy  a  month  later,  De- 
cember iG,  1833.  Father  went  directly  over  to  the 
house  and  out  into  the  road,  but  no  human  being,  and 
not  even  a  track,  could  be  seen.  Lucy  has  been  seen 
many  times  since  by  different  members  of  the  family, 
in  the  same  house,  always  in  a  red  frock,  like  one  she 
was  very  fond  of  wearing  ;  the  last  time  by  my  brother 
Warren's  little  boy,  who  had  never  heard  the  story. 
He  came  running  in,  saying  that  he  had  seen  '  a  little 
girl  upstairs,  in  a  red  dress.'  He  is  dead  now,  and 
such  a  bright  boy.  Since  the  apparition  in  the  door, 
never  for  one  year  has  our  family  been  free  from  the 
shadow  of  death.  Ever  since,  some  one  of  us  has 
been  dying."  .... 


STRUGGLES   WITH  POVERTY.  IQ 

"  I  don't  like  to  think  how  much  we  are  robbed  of  in 
this  world  by  just  the  conditions  of  our  life.  How  much 
better  work  I  should  have  done,  how  much  more  suc- 
cess I  might  have  won,  if  I  had  had  a  better  opportunity 
in  my  youth.  But  for  the  first  fourteen  years  of  my  life, 
it  seemed  as  if  there  was  actually  nothing  in  existence 
but  work.  The  whole  family  struggle  was  just  for  the 
right  to  live  free  from  the  curse  of  debt.  My  father 
worked  early  and  late ;  my  mother's  work  was  never 
done.  The  mother  of  nine  children,  with  no  other 
help  than  that  of  their  little  hands,  I  shall  always  feel 
that  she  was  taxed  far  beyond  her  strength,  and  died 
before  her  time.  I  have  never  felt  myself  to  be  the 
same  that  I  was  before  Rhoda's  death.  Rhoda  and  I 
pined  for  beauty ;  but  there  was  no  beauty  about  our 
homely  house,  but  that  which  nature  gave  us.  *  We 
hungered  and  thirsted  for  knowledge  ;  but  there  were 
not  a  dozen  books  on  our  family  shelf,,  not  a  library 
within  our  reach.  There  was  little  time  to  study,  and 
had  there  been  more,  there  was  no  chance  to  learn  but 
in  the  district  school-house,  down  the  road.  I  never 
went  to  any  other  —  not  very  much  to  that.  It  has 
been  a  long  struggle.  Now  that  I  can  afford  to  gather 
a  few  beautiful  things  about  me,  it  is  too  late.  My 
leisure  I  must  spend  here  "  (turning  toward  her  pillow). 
"Do  you  know"  (with  a  pathetic  smile)  "  I  seem  to 
myself  like  a  worn-out  old  ship,  laid  up  from  further 
use.  I  may  be  repaired  a  little;  but  I'll  never  be  sea- 
worthy again." 

The  friend,  looking  into  her  face,  saw  the  dark  eyes 
drowned  in  tears. 


BO  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 


CHAPTER  II. 

EARLY  STRUGGLES  AND  SUCCESS. 

The  deaths  of  Rhoda  and  Lucy  Cary  were  followed 
by  the  decline  and  passing  away  of  their  mother,  who 
died  July  30,  1835.  In  1837,  Robert  Cary  married 
again.  His  second  wife  was  a  widow,  suitable  in  years, 
and  childless.  Had  her  temperament  been  different, 
her  heart  must  have  gone  out  in  tenderness  to  the 
family  of  young,  motherless  girls  toward  whom  she 
was  now  called  to  fill  a  mother's  place.  The  limita- 
tions of  her  nature  made  this  impossible.  Such  a 
mental  and  spiritual  organism  as  theirs  she  could  not 
comprehend,  and  with  their  attempted  pursuits  she  had 
no  sympathy.  All  time  spent  in  study  she  considered 
wasted. 

Alice,  now  seventeen,  and  Phoebe,  thirteen,  were 
beginning  to  write  down  in  uncertain  lines  the  spon- 
taneous songs  which  seemed  to  sing  themselves  into 
being  in  their  hearts  and  brains.  A  hard,  uncul- 
tured, utilitarian  woman,  to  whom  work  for  work's 
sake  was  the  ultimatum  of  life,  could  not  fail  to 
bring  unhappiness  to  two  such  spirits,  nor  fail  to  sow 
discord  in  a  household  whose  daily  toil  from  birth  had 
been  lightened  and  brightened  by  an  inborn  idealism, 
and  the  unconscious  presence  of  the  very  spirit  of  song. 
Ada  Carnahan  says  :  "Alice  kept  busily  at  work  dur 


EARLY  EDUCATION.  21 

tng  the  day,  prosecuting  her  studies  at  night.  This 
was  a  fruitful  source  of  dissension  between  herself 
and  stepmother,  who  could  not  believe  that  burning 
candles  for  this  purpose  was  either  proper  or  profitable, 
that  reading  books  was  better  than  darning  socks,  or 
writing  poems  better  than  making  bread.  But  the 
country  girls,  uncultured  in  mind  and  rustic  in  manners, 
not  needing  to  be  told  the  immense  distance  which 
separated  them  from  the  world  of  letters  they  longed 
to  enter,  would  not  be  discouraged.  If  they  must 
darn  and  bake,  they  would  also  study  and  write,  and 
at  last  publish  :  if  candles  were  denied  them,  a  saucer 
of  lard  with  a  bit  of  rag  for  wick  could  and  did  serve 
instead,  and  so,  for  ten  long  years,  they  studied  and 
wrote  and  published  without  pecuniary  recompense ; 
often  discouraged  and  despondent,  yet  never  despair- 
ing; lonely  and  grown  over-sensitive,  prone  to  think 
themselves  neglected  and  slighted,  yet  hugging  their 
solitude  in  unconscious  superiority  ;  looking  out  to  the 
graveyard  on  the  near  hillside  with  a  regret  for  the 
past,  and  over  and  beyond  it  into  the  unknown  dis- 
tance with  hope  for  the  future."  Phcebe,  speaking  of 
the  Cary  sisters  as  if  merely  acquaintances,  says : 
"  They  saw  but  few  books  or  newspapers.  On  a  small 
shelf  of  the  cottage  lay  all  the  literary  treasures  of 
the  family.  These  consisted  of  a  Bible,  Hymn  Book, 
the  '  History  of  the  Jews,'  '  Lewis  and  Clark's  Travels,' 
'Pope's  Essays,'  and  'Charlotte  Temple,'  a  romance 
founded  on  fact.  There  might  have  been  one  or  two 
more,  now  forgotten,  and  there  was,  I  know,  a  mutilated 
novel  by  an  unknown  hand,  called  the  '  Black  Penitents,' 
the  mystery  of  whose  fate  (for  the  closing  pages  of 
the  work  were  gone)  was  a  life-long  regret  to  Alice ' 


22  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Robert  and  Elizabeth  Cary  were  early  converts  to 
Universalism,  and  the  "Trumpet/'  says  Phoebe,  "read 
by  them  from  the  publication  of  its  first  numbers  till 
the  close  of  their  lives,  was  for  many  years  the  only 
paper  seen  by  Alice,  and  its  Poet's  Corner  the  food  of 
her  fancy,  and  source  of  her  inspiration."  Yet  with 
such  ill  selected  and  scanty  food  for  the  mind,  and 
early  trained  to  be  helpful  in  a  household  where  great 
needs  and  small  resources  left  little  time  for  anything 
but  the  stern,  practical  part  of  life,  these  children  began 
very  early  to  see  visions  and  to  dream  dreams.  "At 
the  age  of  fifteen  Alice  was  left  motherless,  and,  in  one 
sense,  companionless,  her  yet  living  sisters  being  too 
old  or  too  young  to  fill  the  place  left  vacant  in  her 
life.  The  only  sins  of  writing  of  which  she  seemed  to 
have  been  guilty  up  to  this  time  were  occasional  efforts 
to  alter  and  improve  the  poetry  in  her  school  reader, 
and  a  few  pages  of  original  rhymes  which  broke  the 
monotony  of  her  copy-books.  All  ambition,  and  all 
love  of  the  pursuits  of  life,  seemed  for  a  time  to  have 
died  with  her  beloved  sister.  Her  walks,  which  were 
now  solitary,  generally  terminated  at  the  little  family 
burial-place,  on  a  green  hill  that  rose  in  sight  of  home." 
All  these  conditions  and  influences  in  her  life  must  be 
considered  in  measuring  her  success,  or  in  estimating 
the  quality  of  her  work.  One  of  the  severest  criticisms 
passed  on  her  early  poems  was  that  they  were  full 
of  graves.  Remembering  the  bereaved  and  lonely  girl 
whose  daily  walk  ended  in  the  graveyard  on  the  hill- 
side, where  her  mother  and  sisters  slept,  how  could  her 
early  song  escape  the  shadow  of  death  and  the  vibra- 
tion of  sorrow?  With  her,  it  was  the  utterance  of 
actual  loss,  not  the  morbid  sentimentalism  of  poetic 


FIRST   VENTURES.  23 

youth.  In  after  years,  Phoebe  often  spoke  ot  the  ne^ 
keen  sensation  of  delight  which  she  felt  when,  for  the 
first  time,  she  saw  her  own  verses  in  print.  "  O,  if  they 
could  only  look'like  that  now,"  she  said  to  me  within 
a  year  of  her  death ;  "  if  they  only  could  look  like 
that  now,  it  would  be  better  than  money."  She  was 
but  fourteen  when,  without  consulting  even  Alice,  she 
sent  a  poem  in  secret  to  a  Boston  newspaper,  and  knew 
nothing  of  its  acceptance,  till  to  her  astonishment 
she  saw  it  copied  in  a  home  (Cincinnati)  paper. 
She  laughed  and  cried  over  it.  "  I  did  not  care  any 
more  if  I  were  poor,  or  my  clothes  plain.  Somebody 
cared  enough  for  my  verses  to  print  them,  and  I  was 
happy.  I  looked  with  compassion  on  my  schoolmates. 
You  may  know  more  than  I  do,  I  thought,  but  you 
can't  write  verses  that  are  printed  in  a  newspaper  \  but 
I  kept  my  joy  and  triumph  to  myself." 

Meanwhile  Robert  Cary  built  a  new  house  on  the 
farm,  to  which  he  removed  with  his  second  wife,  leaving 
Alice  and  Phoebe,  their  two  brothers,  and  young  sister 
Elmina,  to  live  together  in  the  old  home.  By  this  time 
newspapers  and  magazines,  with  a  few  new  books,  in- 
cluding the  standard  English  poets,  were  added  to  the 
cottage  library,  while  several  clergymen  and  other  per- 
sons of  culture  coming  into  the  rural  neighborhood, 
brought  new  society  and  more  congenial  associations 
to  the  sisters.  Alice  had  begun  to  publish,  and  with- 
out hope  of  present  reward  was  sending  her  verses 
through  the  land  astray,  they  chiefly  finding  shelter  in 
the  periodicals  and  journals  of  the  Universalist  Chinch, 
with  which  she  was  most  familiar,  and  in  the  daily  and 
weekly  journals  of  Cincinnati.  The  Boston  "Lathes' 
Repository,"  the  "  Ladies'  Repository  "  of  Cincinnati 


24  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

and  "  Graham's  Magazine,"  were  among  the  leading 
magazines  which  accepted  and  published  her  earlier 
verses.  Phcebe  says :  "  Alice's  first  literary  adventure 
appeared  in  the  *  Sentinel '  (now  *  Star  of  the  West '), 
published  in  Cincinnati.  It  was  entitled  '  The  Child 
of  Sorrow,'  and  was  written  in  her  eighteenth  year. 
The  '  Star,'  with  the  exception  of  an  occasional  con- 
tribution to  some  of  the  dailies  of  the  same  city,  was 
for  many  years  her  only  medium  of  publication.  After 
the  establishing  of  the  '  National  Era '  at  Washington 
in  1847,  she  wrote  poetry  regularly  for  its  columns,  and 
here  she  first  tried  her  hand  at  prose,  in  a  series  of 
stories  under  a  fictitious  name.  From  Dr.  Bailey  of 
the  '  Era'  she  received  the  first  money  ever  earned 
by  her  pen  —  ten  dollars  sent  as  a  gratuity,  when  she 
had  written  for  him  some  months.  She  afterwards 
made  a  regular  engagement  to  furnish  him  with  con- 
tributions to  his  paper  for  a  small  stipulated  sum." 
Even  now  the  real  note  of  a  natural  singer  will  pene- 
trate through  all  the  noise  of  our  day,  and  arrest  the 
step  and  fix  the  ear  of  many  a  pilgrim  amid  the  multi- 
tude. This  was  far  more  strikingly  the  fact  in  1850-51. 
Poets,  so  called,  then  were  not  so  plenty  as  now ;  the 
congregation  of  singers  so  much  smaller,  any  new  voice 
molding  in  its  compass  one  sweet  note  was  heard  and 
recognized  at  once.  There  had  come  a  lull  in  the 
national  struggles.  The  tremendous  events  which 
have  absorbed  the  emotion  and  consumed  the  energies 
of  the  nation  for  the  last  decade  were  only  just  begin- 
ning to  show  their  first  faint  portents.  Men  of  letters 
were  at  leisure,  and  ready  to  listen  to  any  new  voice  in 
literature.  Indeed,  they  were  anxious  and  eager  to  see 
take  form  and  substance  in  this  country  an  American 


ALICE   GARY'S  EARLY  POETRY.  25 

literature  which  should  be  acknowledged  and  honored 
abroad.  Judging  by  the  books  of  American  authors 
which  he  has  left  behind,  no  one  at  that  time  could 
have  been  quite  so  much  on  the  alert  for  new  Ameri- 
can poets  and  poetesses  as  Dr.  Rufus  W.  Griswold. 
He  generously  set  amid  his  "  American  Female  Writ- 
ers "  names  which  perished  like  morning-glories,  after 
their  first  outburst  of  song.  He  could  not  fail,  then, 
to  hear  with  delight  those  sweet  strains  of  untu- 
tored music  breaking  from  that  valley  of  the  West, 
heard  now  across  all  the  land.  The  ballads  and  lyrics 
written  by  that  saucer  of  lard  wi.th  its  rag  flame,  in  the 
hours  when  others  slept,  were  bringing  back  lVat  last 
true  echoes  and  sympathetic  responses  from  kindred 
souls,  throbbing  out  in  the  great  world  of  which  as  yet 
these  young  singers  knew  nothing.  Alice's  "  Pictures 
of  Memory  "  had  already  been  pronounced  by  Edgar 
Allan  Poe  to  be  one  of  the  most  musically  perfect 
lyrics  in  the  English  language.  The  names  of  Alice 
and  Phcebe  Cary  in  the  corners  of  newspapers  and 
magazines,  with  the  songs  which  followed,  had  fixed 
the  attention  and  won  the  affection  of  some  of  the  best 
minds  and  hearts  in  the  land.  Men  of  letters,  among 
them  John  G.  Whictier,  had  written  the  sisters  words 
of  appreciation  and  encouragement.  In  1849,  the  ed- 
itor of  the  "  Tribune,"  Horace  Greeley,  visited  them  in 
their  own  home,  and  thus  speaks  of  the  interview  :  "  I 
found  them,  on  my  first  visit  to  Cincinnati,  early  in 
the  summer  of  1849  ;  and  the  afternoon  spent  in  their 
tidy  cottage  on*'  Walnut  Hills,'  seven  miles  out  of  the 
city,  in  the  company  of  congenial  spirits,  since  departed, 
is  among  the  greenest  oases  in  my  recollection  of 
scenes  and  events  long  past." 


20  ALICE  AND  PHOEBE   CARY. 

In  May,  1849,  Phoebe  writes :  "Alice  and  *  have 
been  very  busy  collecting  and  revising  all  our  published 
poems,  to  send  to  New  York.  Rev.  R.  W.  Griswold, 
quite  a  noted  author,  is  going  to  publish  them  for  us 
this  summer,  and  we  arc  to  receive  for  them  a  hundred 
dollars.  I  don't  know  as  I  feel  better  or  worse,  as  I 
don't  think  it  will  do  us  much  good,  or  any  one  else. 
This  little  volume,  entitled  "Poems  of  Alice  and 
Phcebe  Cary,"  published  by  Moss  and  Brother,  of 
Philadelphia,  was  the  first  condensed  result  of  their 
twelve  years  of  study,  privation,  aspiration,  labor,  sor- 
row, and  youth. 

To  the  year  1850,  Alice  and  Phcebe  had  never  met 
any  of  their  Eastern  friends  save  Mr.  Greeley.  But 
after  the  publication  of  their  little  book,  they  went 
forth  together  to  the  land  of  promise,  and  beheld  face 
to  face,  for  the  first  time,  the  sympathetic  souls  who 
had  sent  them  so  many  words  of  encouragement  and 
praise.  They  went  first  to  New  York,  from  thence  to 
Boston,  and  from  Boston  these  women  minstrels  took 
their  way  to  Amesbury,  and  all  unknown,  save  by 
name,  knocked  at  the  door  of  the  poet  Whittier.  Mr. 
Whittier  has  commemorated  that  visit  by  his  touching 
poem  of  "The  Singer,"  published  after  the  death  of 
Alice. 

Years  since  (but  names  to  me  before), 
Two  sisters  sought  at  eve  my  door ; 
Two  song-birds  wandering  from  their  nest, 
A  gray  old  farm-house  in  the  West 

Timid  and  young,  the  elder  had 
Even  then  a  smile  too  sweetly  sad ; 
The  crown  of  pain  that  all  must  wear 
Too  early  pressed  her  midnight  hair. 


"TME  singer:9 

Vet,  ere  the  summer  eve  grew  long, 
Her  modest  lips  were  sweet  with  song  , 
A  memory  haunted  all  her  words 
Of  clover-fields  and  singing-birds. 

Her  dark,  dilating  eyes  expressed 

The  broad  horizons  of  the  West  ; 

Her  speech  dropped  prairie  flowers  ;  the  gold 

Of  harvest  wheat  about  her  rolled. 

Fore-doomed  to  song  she  seemed  to  me  ; 

I  queried  not  with  destiny  : 

I  knew  the  trial  and  the  need, 

Yet  ail  the  more,  I  said,  God  speed  ! 

What  could  I  other  than  I  did  ? 
Could  I  a  singing-bird  forbid  ? 
Deny  the  wind-stirred  leaf?     Rebuke 
The  music  of  the  forest  brook  ? 

She  went  with  morning  from  my  door; 
But  left  me  richer  than  before  : 
Thenceforth  I  knew  her  voice  of  cheerj 
The  welcome  of  her  partial  ear. 

Years  passed  ;  through  all  the  land  her  name 
A  pleasant  household  word  became  ; 
All  felt  behind  the  singer  stood 
A  sweet  and  gracious  womanhood 

Her  life  was  earnest  work,  not  play; 
Her  tired  feet  climbed  a  weary  way  ; 
And  even  through  her  lightest  strain 
We  heard  an  undertone  of  pain. 

Unseen  of  her,  her  fair  fame  grew, 
The  good  she  did  she  rarely  knew, 
Unguessed  of  her  in  life  the  love 
That  rained  its  tears  her  grave  above. 


•8  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

The  friendship  thus  sympathetically  begun  between 
these  tender,  upright  souls  never  waned  while  human 
life  endured.  To  their  last  hour,  Alice  and  Phoebe 
cherished  for  this  great  poet  and  good  man  the  affec- 
tion and  devotion  of  sisters.  Of  this  first  visit  Alice 
wrote  :  "  I  like  him  very  much,  and  was  sorry  to  say 
good-by."  After  an  absence  of  three  months  the  sis 
ters  returned  to  the  West,  which  was  nevermore  to  be 
their  home. 

In  November  of  the  same  year  (1850),  Alice  Cary, 
broken  in  health,  sad  in  spirit,  with  little  money, 
but  with  a  will  which  no  difficulty  could  daunt,  an 
energy  and  patience  which  no  pain  or  sorrow  could 
overcome,  started  alone  to  seek  her  fortune,  and  to 
make  for  herself  a  place  and  home  in  the  city  of  New 
York.  Referring  to  this  the  year  before  her  death,  she 
said  :  "  Ignorance  stood  me  in  the  stead  of  courage. 
Had  I  known  the  great  world  as  I  have  learned  it 
since,  I  should  not  have  dared  ;  but  I  didn't.  Thus  I 
came." 

The  intellectual  life  of  neither  man  nor  woman  can 
be  justly  judged  without  a  knowledge  of  the  conditions 
which  impelled  that  life  and  gave  to  it  shape  and  sub- 
stance. Alice  Cary  felt  within  her  soul  the  divine 
impulse  of  genius,  but  hers  was  essentially  a  feminine 
soul,  shy,  loving,  full  of  longings  for  home,  overbur- 
dened with  tenderness,  capable  of  an  unselfish,  life- 
long devotion  to  one.  Whatever  her  mental  or  spirit- 
ual gifts,  no  mere  ambition  could  ever  have  borne  such 
a  woman  out  into  the  world  to  seek  and  to  make  her 
fortune  alone.  Had  Alice  Cary  married  the  man  whom 
she  then  loved,  she  would  never  have  come  to  New  York 
at  all,  to  coin  the  rare  gifts  of  her  brain  and  soul  into 


ALICE'S  SOLITARY  LOVE.  29 

money  for  shelter  and  bread.  Business  interests  had 
brought  into  her  western  neighborhood  a  man  at  that 
time  much  her  superior  in  years,  culture,  and  fortune. 
Naturally  he  sought  the  society  of  a  young,  lovely 
woman  so  superior  to  her  surroundings  and  associa- 
tions. To  Alice  he  was  the  man  of  men.  It  is  doubt 
ful  if  the  most  richly  endowed  man  of  the  world  whom 
she  met  afterwards  in  her  larger  sphere,  ever  wore  to 
her  the  splendor  of  manhood  which  invested  this  king 
of  her  youth.  Alice  Cary  loved  this  man,  and  in  the 
profoundest  sense  she  never  loved  another.  A  proud 
and  prosperous  family  brought  all  their  pride  and 
power  to  bear  on  a  son,  to  prevent  his  marrying  a  girl 
to  them  uneducated,  rustic,  and  poor.  "  I  waited  for 
one  who  never  came  back,"  she  said.  "  Yet  I  believed 
he  would  come,  till  I  read  in  a  paper  his  marriage  to 
another.  Can  you  think  what  life  would  be  —  loving 
one,  waiting  for  one  who  would  never  come !  " 

He  did  come  at  last.  His  wife  had  died.  Alice 
was  dying.  The  gray-haired  man  sat  down  beside  the 
gray-haired  woman.  Life  had  dealt  prosperously  with 
him,  as  is  its  wont  with  men.  Suffering  and  death  had 
taken  all  from  her  save  the  lustre  of  her  wondrous 
eyes.  From  her  wan  and  wasted  face  they  shone 
upon  him  full  of  tenderness  and  youth.  Thus  they 
met  with  life  behind  them  —  they  who  parted  plighted 
lovers  when  life  was  young.  He  was  the  man  whom 
she  forgave  for  her  blighted  and  weary  life,  with  a 
smile  of  parting  as  divine  as  ever  lit  the  face  of 
woman. 

Alice  Cary's  was  no  weak  nature.  All  its  fine  fem- 
inine gold  was  set  in  a  will  of  iron.  All  its  deep 
wells  of  tenderness  were  walled  and  held  in  by  jus- 


30  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

tice,  common  sense,  and  unyielding  integrity.  She 
outlived  that  sorrowful  youth  to  speak  of  it  with  pity, 
to  drop  a  silent  tear  upon  its  memory  as  if  it  were  the 
youth  of  another  person.  She  lived  to  become  rreem- 
inently  one  of  the  world's  workers.  She  had  many 
and  flattering  offers  of  marriage,  but  she  never  entered 
into  a  second  engagement.  With  all  her  capacity  for 
affection,  hers  was  an  eclectic  and  solitary  soul.  He 
who  by  the  very  patent  of  his  nature  was  more  to  her 
than  any  other  being  could  be,  passed  out  from  her 
life,  but  no  other  one  ever  took  his  place. 

It  was  in  this  desolation  of  her  youth  that  Alice  Cary 
resolved  to  go  to  New  York,  and  make  a  home  and 
life-work  for  herself.  Many  sympathetic  souls  had 
sent  back  answering  echoes  to  her  songs.  We  may 
believe  that  to  her  lonely  heart  the  voice  of  human 
praise  was  sweet.  If  it  could  not  recall  the  first  prom- 
ise of  her  morning,  at  least  it  foretold. that  hers  would 
be  a  busy,  workful,  and  successful  day.  It  cannot  be 
said  that  she  found  herself  alone  in  New  York,  for, 
from  the  first,  her  genius  and  true  womanliness  gath- 
ered around  her  a  small  circle  of  devoted  friends. 
Women  loved  her, 

"  And  men,  who  toiled  in  storm  and  sun, 
Found  her  their  meet  companion." 

In  the  spring  of  185 1,  she  wrote  to  her  sisters  to 
join  her,  and  in  April,  Phoebe  and  her  lovely  young 
sister,  then  scarcely  twenty  years  of  age,  left  Cincinnati 
and  came  to  Alice.  Of  this  departure  of  the  three 
from  the  home  nest,  Phoebe  says :  "  Without  advice 
or  counsel  of  any  but  themselves,  they  resolved  to 
come  to  New  York,  and  after  the  manner  cf  children 


THE  SUPPORT  THAT  POETRY  GIVES.        31 

in  the  story-book,  seek  their  fortune.  Many  sad  and 
trying  changes  had  come  to  the  family,  and  home  was 
not  what  it  had  been.  They  had  comparative  youth, 
though  they  were  much  older  in  years  than  in  experi- 
ence and  knowledge  of  the  world  ;  they  had  pleasant 
visions  of  a  home  and  name  that  might  be  earned  by 
literary  labor,  and  so  the  next  spring  the  bold  venture 
was  made. 

"  Living  in  a  very  economical  and  humble  way,  writ- 
ing for  whatever  papers  would  accept  their  contribu- 
tions, and  taking  any  remuneration  that  was  offered, 
however  small,  they  did  from  the  first  somehow  man- 
age to  live  without  debt,  and  with  little  obligation." 
To  appreciate  more  perfectly  the  industry  and  frugal- 
ity which  enabled  them  to  do  this,  we  must  know  how 
much  smaller,  at  that  time,  was  the  reward  for  all  lit- 
erary labor,  than  it  is  now.  Speaking  of  their  coming 
to  make  New  York  their  home,  in  his  sketch  of  the 
sisters  in  the  "  Eminent  Women  of  the  Age,"  Horace 
Greeley  says :  — 

"  I  do  not  know  at  whose  suggestion  they  resolved 
to  migtate  to  this  city,  and  attempt  to  live  here  by  lit- 
erary labor;  it  surely  was  not  mine.  If  my  judgment 
was  ever  invoked,  I  am  sure  I  must  have  responded 
that  the  hazard  seemed  to  me  too  great,  the  induce- 
ments inadequate.  And,  before  you  dissent  from  this 
opinion,  be  pleased  to  remember  that  we  had  then 
scarcely  any  periodical  literature  worthy  of  the  name 
outside  of  the  political  and  commercial  journals.  I 
doubt  that  so  much  money  was  paid,  in  the  a 
for  contributions  to  all  the  magazines  and  weeklies 
issued  fiom   this   city,  paid    in    1870   by   the 

1  Ledger'  alone.     Our  magnificent  system  of  dissent- 


32  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

ination  by  means  of  railroad  trains  and  news  compa 
nies  was  then  in  its  infancy ;  when  I  started  '  The 
New  Yorker,'  fifteen  years  earlier,  it  had  no  existence. 
It  impeaches  neither  the  discrimination,  the  justice, 
nor  the  enterprise,  of  the  publishers  of  1850,  to  say 
that  they  hardly  paid  for  contributions  a  tithe  of  the 
prices  now  freely  accorded  to  favorite  writers  ;  they 
paid  what  they  could.  I  remember  seeing  Longfellow's 
grand  '  Endymion  '  received  in  manuscript  at  the  office 
of  a  popular  and  successful  weekly,  which  paid  fifteen 
dollars  for  it ;  a  hundred  such  would  now  be  quickly 
taken  at  one  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  each,  and  the 
purchasers  would  look  anxiously  about  them  for  more. 

"  Alice  and  Phcebe  came  among  us,  as  I  have  said, 
in  1850.  They  hired  two  or  three  modest  rooms,  in 
an  unfashionable  neighborhood,  and  set  to  work  reso- 
lutely to  earn  a  living  by  the  pen." 

The  secret  of  the  rare  material  success  which  at- 
tended them  from  the  beginning  is  to  be  found  in  the 
fact  that  from  the  first  they  began  to  make  a  home : 
also  in  the  fact  that  they  possessed  every  attribute  of 
character  and  habit  necessary  to  the  making  of  one. 
They  had  an  unfeigned  horror  of  "  boarding."  Any 
friend  of  theirs  ever  compelled  to  stay  in  a  boarding 
house  was  sure  of  an  extra  portion  of  their  com- 
miseration and  sympathy.  A  home  they  must  have, 
albeit  it  was  up  two  flights  of  stairs.  To  the  mainte- 
nance of  this  home  they  brought  industry,  frugality,  and 
a  hatred  of  debt.  If  they  had  money  but  to  pay  for  a 
crust,  then  a  crust  must  suffice.  With  their  inflexible 
integrity  they  believed  that  they  had  no  right  to  more, 
till  they  had  money  to  pay  for  that  more.  Thus  from 
the  beginning  to  the  end  they  always  lived  within  their 


MR.  GREELEY'S   FRIENDSHIP.  33 

income.  They  never  wore  or  had  anything  better  than 
they  could  afford.  With  true  feminine  instinct,  they 
made  their  little  "  flat "  take  on  at  once  the  cosiest 
look  of  home.  A  man-genius  seeking  the  city,  as  they 
did,  of  course  would  have  taken  refuge  in  a  boarding- 
house  attic,  and  "enjoyed  himself"  in  writing  poems 
and  leaders  amid  dirt  and  forlornity.  Not  so  these 
women-poets.  I  have  heard  Alice  tell  how  she  papered 
one  room  with  her  own  hands,  and  Phcebe  how  she 
painted  the  doors,  framed  the  pictures,  and  "  brightened 
up  "  things  generally.  Thus  from  the  first  they  had  a 
home,  and  by  the  very  magnetism  that  made  it  bright, 
cheery,  in  truth  a  home,  they  drew  around  themifriends 
who  were  their  friends  no  less  till  they  breathed  their 
last  sigh.  One  of  these  was  Mr.  Greeley.  He  always 
cherished  for  these  sisters  three  the  respect  and  affec- 
tion which  every  true  man  instinctively  feels  for  the 
true  women  who  have  their  being  within  the  circle  of 
his  life.  In  their  friendship  one  religious  faith,  kin- 
dred pursuits,  mutual  friends,  and  long  association 
strengthened  and  cemented  the  fraternal  bond  to  the 
last.  Mr.  Greeley  himself  thus  refers  to  their  early 
tea-parties. 

"  Being  already  an  acquaintance,  I  called  on  the 
sisters  soon  after  they  had  set  up  their  household  gods 
among  us,  and  met  them  at  intervals  thereafter  at 
their  home  or  at  the  houses  of  mutual  friends.  Their 
parlor  was  not  so  large  as  some  others,  but  quite  as 
neat  and  cheerful ;  and  the  few  literary  persons,  or 
artists,  who  occasionally  met  at  their  informal  invita- 
tion, to  discuss  with  them  a  cup  of  tea  and  the  newest 
books,  poems,  and  events,  might  have  found  many 
more  pretentious,  but  few  more  enjoyable  gatherings. 
1 


34  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

I  have  a  dim  recollection  that  the  first  of  these  little, 
tea-parties  was  held  up  two  flights  of  stairs,  in  one  of 
the  less  fashionable  sections  of  the  city;  but  good 
things  were  said  there  that  I  recall  with  pleasure  yet  \ 
while  of  some  of  the  company,  on  whom  I  have  not 
since  set  eyes,  I  cherish  a  pleasant  and  grateful  re- 
membrance. As  their  circumstances  gradually,  though 
slowly  improved,  by  dint  of  diligent  industry  and 
judicious  economy,  they  occupied  more  eligible  quar- 
ters ;  and  the  modest  dwelling  they  have  for  some 
years  owned  and  improved,  in  the  very  heart  of  this 
emporium,  has  long  been  known  to  the  literary  guild, 
as  combining  one  of  the  best  private  libraries  with  the 
sunniest  drawing-room  (even  by  gas-light)  to  be  found 
between  King's  Bridge  and  the  Battery." 

Thus  began  in  1850-51  the  life  and  work  of  Alice 
and  Phcebe  Cary  in  New  York.  The  next  year  saw 
the  coming  out  of  Alice's  first  series  of  u  Clovernook 
fapers."  They  were  full  of  the  freshness  and  fragrance 
of  her  native  fields ;  full  of  simple,  original,  graphic 
pictures  of  the  country  life,  and  the  men  and  women 
whom  she  knew  best ;  full  of  the  exquisite  touches  of 
a  spontaneous,  child-like  genius,  and  they  were  gath- 
ered up  as  eagerly  by  the  public  as  the  children  gather 
wild  flowers.  Their  very  simplicity  and  freshness  won 
all  hearts.  They  sold  largely  in  this  country  and  in 
Great  Britain.  English  critics  bestowed  on  them  the 
highest  and  most  discriminating  praise,  as  pure  prod- 
ucts of  American  life  and  genius,  while  the  press  of 
this  country  universally  acknowledged  their  delicious 
simplicity  and  originality.  Alice  published  a  second 
series  in  1853,  with  unabated  success,  while  in  1854 
Ticknor  and  Fields  published  the  "  Clovernook  Chi) 


ALICE   CARY'S  PROSE  AND  POETRY.         $$ 

dren,"  which  were  as  popular  with  younger  readers,  as 
the  "  Papers"  had  been  with  their  elders.  In  1853, 
"  Lyra  and  Other  Poems,  by  Alice  Cary,"  were  pub« 
lished  by  Redfield.  This  volume  called  out  some 
severe  criticisms  on  the  uniform  sadness  of  its  tone ; 
one  especially  in  "  Putnam's  Monthly,"  which  caused 
Alice  much  pain.  Nevertheless  it  was  a  successful 
book,  and  was  brought  out  a  second  time  complete, 
with  the  addition  of  "The  Maiden  of  Tlascala,"  a 
narrative  poem  of  seventy-two  pages,  by  Ticknor  and 
Fields,  in  1855.  Alice's  first  novel,  "  Hagar,  a  Story 
of  To-Day,"  was  written  for  and  appeared  in  the 
"  Cincinnati  Commercial,"  and  was  afterwards4brought 
out  by  Redfield  in  1852.  "Married,  Not  Mated," 
appeared  in  1856.  "Pictures  of  Country  Life,  by 
Alice  Cary,"  were  published  by  Derby  and  Jackson  in 
1859.  This  book  reproduced  much  of  the  freshness, 
the  exquisite  grace  and  naturalness,  of  her  "Clovernook 
Papers."  She  was  free  on  her  native  heath,  when 
she  painted  rural  scenery  and  rural  life.  These 
Papers  were  translated  into  French  in  Paris,  and 
"The  Literary  Gazette"  (London),  which  is  not  ac- 
customed to  flatter  American  authors,  said  :  "  Every 
tale  in  this  book  might  be  selected  as  evidence  of 
some  new  beauty  or  unhackneyed  grace.  There  is 
nothing  feeble,  nothing  vulgar,  and,  above  all,  nothing 
unnatural  or  melodramatic.  To  the  analytical  sub- 
tlety and  marvelous  naturalness  of  the  French  school 
of  romance  she  has  added  the  purity  and  idealization 
of  the  home  affections  and  home  life  belonging  to  the 
English,  giving  to  both  the  American  richness  of  color 
and  vigor  of  outline,  and  her  own  individual  power 
and  loveliness." 


36  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  Lyrics  and  Hymns,"  with  portrait,  beautifully 
bound  and  illustrated,  which  still  remain  the  standard 
selection  of  her  poems,  were  issued  by  Hurd  and 
Houghton,  in  1866.  In  186-,  "The  Lover's  Diary," 
in  exquisite  form,  and  "  Snow  Berries,  A  Book  for 
Young  Folks,"  were  bought  by  Ticknor  and  Fields. 
The  same  year  a  novel,  "The  Bishop's  Son,"  which 
first  appeared  in  the  "  Springfield  (Mass.)  Republi- 
can," was  published  by  Carleton,  New  York.  "  The 
Born  Thrall,"  a  novel  in  which  Alice  hoped  to  embody 
her  deepest  thoughts  and  maturest  convictions  con- 
cerning the  sorrows  and  wrongs  of  woman,  was  inter- 
rupted by  her  last  sickness,  while  passing  through  the 
"  Revolution,"  and  never  finished.  She  left,  beside,  a 
completed  novel  in  manuscript,  not  yet  published. 
Thus,  beside  writing  constantly  for  "  Harper's  Maga- 
zine," the  "  Atlantic  Monthly,"  "  Riverside  Magazine," 
"  New  York  Ledger,"  "  New  York  Weekly,"  "  New 
York  Independent,"  "  Packard's  Monthly,"  and  chance 
periodicals  innumerable,  which  entreated  her  name  for 
their  pages,  the  active  brain  and  soul  of  Alice  Cary  in 
twenty  years  produced  eleven  volumes,  every  word  and 
thought  of  which  was  wrought  from  her  own  being,  and 
every  line  of  which  was  written  by  her  own  hand.  In 
the  same  number  of  years,  Phcebe,  beside  aiding  in 
the  editing  of  several  books,  the  most  important  of 
which  was  "  Hymns  for  All  Christians,"  published  by 
Hurd  and  Houghton  in  1869,  brought  out  "Poems  and 
Parodies,"  published  by  Ticknor  and  Fields,  1854,  and 
"  Poems  of  Faith,  Hope,  and  Love,"  issued  by  Hurd 
and  Houghton  in  1868.  Beside,  Alice  and  Phcebe 
left,  at  their  death,  poems  enough  uncollected  to  give 
each  name  two  added  volumes,  one  of  each  a  book  of 


LITERARY  REMAINS.  37 

Child-Poems.  The  disparity  in  the  actual  intellectual 
product  of  the  two  sisters,  in  the  same  number  of 
years,  is  very  striking.  It  is  the  result,  not  so  much  of 
mental  inequality,  as  of  the  compelling  will,  enerjjy, 
industry,  and  the  patience  of  labor  of  the  elder  sister. 


j8  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 


CHAPTER  III. 

THEIR    HOME. HABITS  OF  LIFE  AND  OF  LABOR. TH* 

SUMMER  OF  1869. 

Before  1856,  Alice  and  Phoebe  had  removed  to  the 
pretty  house  in  Twentieth  Street,  which  was  destined 
to  be  their  last  earthly  home.  Within  a  short  time 
Alice  bought  this  house,  and  was  its  sole  owner  at  the 
time  of  her  death.  An  English  writer  has  said : 
"  Single  women  can  do  little  to  form  a  circle ;  they  can 
but  adorn  one  when  found."  This  certainly  was  never 
true  of  the  two  single  women  whose  earthly  days  we 
are  tracing.  From  the  beginning,  the  house  in  Twen- 
tieth Street  became  the  centre  of  one  of  the  choicest 
and  most  cosmopolitan  circles  in  New  York.  The 
two  sisters  drew  about  them  not  only  the  best,  but 
the  most  genial  minds.  True  men  and  women 
equally  found  in  each,  companion,  counselor,  and 
friend.  They  met  every  true  woman  that  came  to 
them  with  sympathy  and  tenderness,  feeling  that  they 
shared  with  her  all  the  mutual  toils  and  sorrows  of 
womanhood.  They  met  every  true  man,  as  brother, 
with  an  open,  honest,  believing  gaze.  Intensely  in- 
terested in  all  great  public  questions,  loving  their 
country,  devoted  to  it,  devoted  to  everything  good 
and  true ;  alive  to  everything  of  interest  in  politics, 
-eligion,  literature,  and  society ;  the  one  pensive  and 


LITERARY  HABITS.  39 

tender,  the  other  witty  and  gay,  men  of  refinement, 
culture,  and  heart  found  in  them  the  most  delightful 
companions.  Beside  (which  was  much),  no  man  wel- 
come, was  afraid  to  go  to  their  house.  Independent 
in  their  industry  and  resources,  they  asked  few  favors. 
They  had  no  "  designs,"  even  the  most  harmless,  en 
any  living  man.  Men  the  most  marriageable,  or 
unmarriageable,  could  visit  the  Carys  without  fear  or 
question.  The  atmosphere  of  the  house  was  trans- 
parent as  the  sunshine.  They  loved  women,  they 
delighted  in  the  society  of  agreeable  men,  and  fear- 
lessly said  so.  The  weekly  refreshment  of  the  house 
was  hospitality,  its  daily  habit,  labor.  I  have*  never 
known  any  other  woman  so  systematically  and  persist- 
ently industrious  as  Alice  Cary.  Hers  was  truly  the 
genius  of  patience.  No  obstacle  ever  daunted  it,  no 
pain  ever  stilled  it,  no  weariness  ever  overcame  it,  till 
the  last  weariness  of  death.  As  Phoebe  said,  "  The 
pen  literally  fell  from  her  hand  at  last,"  and  only  then, 
because  in  the  valley  of  the  shadow  of  death,  which 
she  had  already  entered,  she  could  no  longer  see  to 
trace  the  trembling,  uncertain  lines.  But  few  men  or 
women  could  look  back  upon  fifty  years  of  more  per- 
sistent industry.  I  doubt  if  she  e^  er  kept  a  diary,  or 
wrote  down  a  rule  for  her  life.  She  did  not  need  to 
do  so ;  her  life  itself  was  the  rule.  There  was  a  beau- 
tiful, yet  touching  uniformity  in  her  days.  Her  pleas- 
ure was  her  labor.  Of  rest,  recreation,  amusement, 
as  other  women  sought  these,  she  knew  almost  nothing. 
Her  rest  and  recreation  were  the  intervals  from  pain, 
in  which  she  could  labor.  It  was  not  always  the  labor 
of  writing.  No,  sometimes  it  was  making  a  cap,  or 
trimming   a  bonnet,  or  rummaging  to  the  depths  of 


40  ALICE   AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

feminine  boxes  j  yet  no  less  it  was  work  of  some  sort, 
never  play.  The  only  hour  of  rest  any  day  brought, 
was  the  hour  after  dinner,  the  twilight  hour,  when  one 
sister  always  came  to  the  other's  room,  and  with  folded 
hands  and  low  voices  they  talked  over,  almost  always, 
the  past,  the  friends  loved,  scattered,  or  gone  before. 

The  morning  might  be  for  mirth,  but  the  evening 
belonged  to  memory.  All  Alice's  personal  surround- 
ings were  dainty  and  womanly.  It  was  no  dreary 
den,  in  which  she  thought  and  wrought.  It  was  a 
sunny  room  over  the  library,  running  the  depth  of  the 
house,  with  windows  at  both  ends.  A  carpet  of  woody 
tints,  relieved  with  scarlet  flowers,  covered  the  floor 
On  the  pale  walls,  tinted  a  deHcate  green,  hung  pic- 
tures, all  of  which  had  to  her  some  personal  associ- 
ation. Over  the  mantel  hung  an  oil  painting,  called 
"  Early  Sorrow,"  the  picture  of  a  poor,  wind-beaten 
young  girl,  her  yellow  hair  blown  about  her  face,  and 
the  rain  of  sorrow  in  her  eyes,  painted  by  a  struggling, 
unfortunate  artist,  whom  Alice  had  done  more  to  help 
and  encourage,  than  all  other  persons  in  the  world. 

Autumn  leaves  and  sea-mosses  imprisoned  in  frames, 
with  rich  Bohemian  vases,  adorned  the  black  mar- 
ble mantel.  Beside  the  back  window,  within  the 
alcove  for  which  it  had  been  expressly  made,  stood  the 
bed,  her  couch  of  suffering  and  musing,  and  on  which 
she  died.  The  bedstead  was  of  rosewood  traced  with 
a  band  of  coral,  and  set  with  arabesques  of  gilt ;  its 
white  coverlet  and  pillow-cases  edged  with  delicate 
lace.  Above  it  hung  an  exquisite  engraving  of  Cupid, 
the  gift  of  Mrs.  Greeley,  brought  by  her  from  Paris. 
At  the  foot  of  the  bed  hung  a  colored  engraving  of 
Rosa  Bonheur's  "  Oxen,"  a  farmer  ploughing  down  the 


ALICE'S  ROOM.  4 1 

furrows  of  a  rolling  field.  "  It  rests  me,"  she  would 
say  \  "  I  look  at  it,  and  live  over  my  youth."  Often  in 
the  afternoon,  while  taking  her  half  hour's  rest  from 
work,  as  she  leaned  back  among  the  pillows,  the  dark 
eyes  were  lifted  and  fixed  upon  this  picture.  In  the 
winter,  curtains  of  fawn-colored  satin,  edged  and  tas- 
seled  with  soft  red,  shaded  this  alcove  from  the  front 
room.  The  front  windows  were  hung  with  the  same. 
Between  them,  a  mirror  reached  from  floor  to  ceiling. 

Beside  one  of  these  windows  stood  Alice's  desk. 
It  was  of  rosewood,  finely  finished  and  commodious  , 
a  bureau,  desk,  and  book-case  combined.  The  drawers 
below  were  the  receptacle  of  her  beloved  India ishawls, 
for  which  she  had  the  same  love  that  some  women 
have  for  diamonds,  and  others  for  rare  paintings.  The 
drawer  of  her  desk  contained  her  manuscript  papers  ;  the 
shelves  above,  the  books  that  she  was  reading,- and  her 
books  of  reference  ;  while  above  all  hung  a  favorite 
landscape  in  water-colors.  On  the  other  side  of  the 
mantel-piece  stood  corresponding  bureau  and  shelves, 
filled  with  books.  Here  were  copies  of  her  own  and 
Phcebe's  works,  which  never  appeared  in  the  library 
or  drawing-room  below.  Above  these  book-shelves, 
hung  an  autumn  landscape.  On  one  side  of  the  alcove 
there  was  an  engraving  of  Correggio's  "  Christ ;  "  on  the 
other,  a  copy  of  "  The  Huguenot  Lovers."  Beside  the 
hall  door,  opposite  her  desk,  there  hung  a  portrait  in 
oil  of  their  father,  by  the  hand  which  painted  "  Early 
Sorrow  j  "  on  the  other  side  of  the  door  there  was  at 
one  time  a  portrait  of  Phcebe.  Easy  chairs  and  foot- 
stools completed  the  furniture  of  this  room,  in  which 
Alice  Cary  lived  for  fifteen  years,  the  room  in  whicl 
she  slowly  and  sadly  relinquished  life,  and  in  which 
at  last  she  died 


42  ALICE   AND  PHCEDE   CARY. 

At  the  opposite  end  of  the  hall  was  a  room  which  cor 
responded  exactly  with  that  of  Alice,  the  room  which 
had  been  Elmina's,  in  which  she  died,  and  which  from 
her  death  was  "Phoebe's  room."  Rich  purple  cur- 
tains used  to  hang  from  the  alcove,  shading  the  face 
of  the  lovely  sufferer,  and  curtains  of  the  same  hue 
draped  the  windows.  But  Phoebe  eschewed  all  dra- 
peries, and,  summer  or  winter,  nothing  denser  than 
white  shades  and  the  thinnest  of  lace  curtains  hung 
between  her  and  the  strongest  sunshine.  A  bright  red 
carpet,  relieved  by  small  medallions,  covered  the  floor. 
Over  the  mantel-piece  for  a  long  time  hung  a  superb 
copy  of  "  The  Huguenot  Lovers,"  in  a  gilt  frame.  This 
was  replaced  at  last  by  a  copy  of  Turner,  in  oil,  a 
resplendent  Venetian  scene.  Beside  the  alcove  hung 
the  chromo  of  Whittier's  "  Barefoot  Boy,"  which  was 
a  great  favorite  with  Phoebe,  while  clusters  of  flowers 
in  lithograph  and  water-colors,  added  to  the  bright 
cheerfulness  of  the  room.  Between  the  windows  was 
a  full  length  mirror ;  on  one  side  of  the  room  was 
Phoebe's  desk,  of  the  same  form  and  wood,  though  of 
a  smaller  size  than  that  of  Alice.  In  its  appointments 
it  was  a  perfect  model  of  neatness.  It  was  always 
absolutely  in  order ;  while,  beside  books,  its  shelves 
were  ornamented  with  vases  and  other  pretty  trinkets. 
On  the  opposite  side  of  the  room  stood  a  table,  the 
receptacle  of  the  latest  newspapers,  magazines,  and 
novels,  that,  like  the  desk,  was  ever  in  order,  and  in 
addition  to  its  freight  of  literature  always  made  room 
for  a  work-basket  well  stocked  with  spools,  scissors, 
and  all  the  implements  of  an  accomplished  needle- 
woman. 

Both  sisters  always  retained  their  country  habit  of 


DAILY  HABITS.  43 

retiring  and  rising  early  j  they  were  rarely  out  of  bed 
after  ten  at  night,  and  more  rarely  in  it  after  six  of 
the  morning.  Till  the  summer  of  1869,  Alice  always 
rose  and  went  to  market,  Phoebe  getting  up  as  early 
and  going  to  her  sewing.  From  that  time  till  her 
deaih,  Phoebe  did  the  marketing,  and  the  purchases 
of  the  day  were  all  made  before  breakfast.  From  that 
dale,  though  not  equal  to  the  exertion  of  dressing  and 
going  out,  Alice  arose  no  less  early. 

She  was  often  at  her  desk  by  five  o'clock  a.  m., 
rarely  later  than  six.  Not  a  week  that  she  did  not 
more  than  once  tell  us  at  the  breakfast  table  that  she 
had  already  written  a  poem  that  morning,  sometimes 
more  than  one.  Waking  in  the  night,  or  before  light, 
it  was  often  her  solace  to  weave  her  songs  while  others 
slept ;  and  the  first  thing  she  did  on  rising  was  to 
write  them  down  from  memory.  During  Elmina's 
decline  it  had  been  the  custom  of  Alice  and  Phoebe 
to  meet  the  first  thing  in  the  morning  by  her  bed,  to 
ask  the  dear  one  how  she  had  rested,  and  to  begin  the 
communion  of  the  day.  From  her  death  it  was  the  habit 
of  Phoebe  to  go  directly  to  Alice  as  soon  as  she  arose. 
Sitting  down  on  the  edge  of  the  bed,  each  would  tell 
the  story  of  her  night,  though  it  was  Alice  who,  being 
very  wakeful,  really  had  a  story  of  pains  and  thoughts 
and  dreams  to  tell.  I  spent  the  summer,  autumn,  and 
a  part  of  the  winter  of  1869  with  them,  and  the  memo- 
ries of  those  days  are  as  unique  as  they  are  precious. 
''We  three"  met  each  morning  at  the  breakfast  table, 
in  that  pleasant,  pictured  dining-room,  which  so  many 
remember.  The  same  dainty  china  which  made  the 
Sunday  evening  teas  so  appetizing,  made  the  break- 
fast table  beautiful  ;  often  with  the  addition  of  a  vase 


44  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

full  of  fresh  flowers,  brought  by  Phoebe  from  market 
If  Alice  was  able  to  be  there  at  all,  she  had  been  able 
before  coming  down  to  deck  her  abundant  locks  with 
a  dainty  morning  cap,  brightened  with  pink  ribbons, 
and,  in  her  white  robe  and  breakfast  shawl,  with  its 
brilliant  border,  never  looked  lovelier  than  when  pour- 
ing coffee  for  two  ardent  adorers  of  her  own  sex. 
She  was  always  her  brightest  at  this  time.  She  had 
already  done  work  enough  to  promise  well  for  the  rest 
of  her  day.  She  was  glad  to  see  us,  glad  to  be  able 
to  be  there,  ready  to  tell  us  each  our  fortune  anew, 
casting  our  horoscope  afresh  in  her  teacup  each  morn- 
ing. Phcebe,  in  her  street  dress,  just  home  from 
market,  "  had  seen  a  sight,"  and  had  something  funny 
to  tell.  More,  she  had  any  amount  of  funny  things  to 
tell.  The  wittiest  Phcebe  Cary  that  ever  made  de- 
lightful an  evening  drawing-room  was  tame,  compared 
with  this  Phcebe  Cary  of  the  breakfast  table,  with  only 
two  women  to  listen  to  her,  and  to  laugh  till  they  cried 
and  had  strength  to  laugh  no  longer,  over  her  irresist- 
ible remarks,  which  she  made  with  the  assumed  so- 
lemnity of  an  owl.  Then  came  the  morning  journals 
and  the  mail ;  and  with  discussing  the  state  of  the 
nation,  growing  "  wrought  up  "  over  wrong  and  injus- 
tice everywhere,  sharing  the  pleasant  gossip  of  friends, 
the  breakfast  was  often  lengthened  to  a  nearly  two 
hours'  sitting.  Alice  then  went  to  the  kitchen  to 
order  her  household  for  the  day,  when  each  of  the 
three  went  to  the  silence  and  labor  of  her  own  room, 
seeing  no  more  of  each  other,  unless  meeting  over  a 
chance  cup  of  tea  at  lunch,  till  they  reassembled  at 
the  dinner  table,  each  to  tell  the  pleasant  part  of 
the  story  of  her  day,  and  to  repeat  the  delightful  in« 


READING  POEMS.  45 

tercourse  of  the  morning.  After  dinner  there  was  a 
general  adjournment  to  Alice's  or  Phcebe's  room,  as  it 
might  happen.  It  was  at  this  time,  usually,  that  each 
sister  read  to  the  other  the  poem  that  she  had  written 
or  corrected  and  copied  that  day.  I  can  see  Phcebe 
now,  softly  opening  the  door  with  her  neat  manuscript 
in  her  hand.  Sitting  down  beside  Alice's  couch,  in 
a  shy,  deprecating,  modest  fashion,  most  winsome  to 
behold,  she  would  read  in  low  voice  the  poem.  We 
never  criticised  it.  The  appealing  tones  of  our  reader 
made  the  very  thoughts  of  criticism  impossible.  If  it 
was  funny,  we  laughed ;  if  it  was  sad,  we  cried,  and 
our  reader  with  us  j  and  in  either  case  she  Was  en- 
tirely satisfied  with  the  appreciation  of  her  audience. 
Then  Alice  would  slowly  go  to  her  desk,  draw  forth 
tumbled  sheets  of  manuscript,  the  opposite  of  Phcebe's 
in  their  chirography,  and,  settling  in  her  easy-chair, 
begin  in  a  low,  crooning  tone,  one  of  those  quaint,  wild 
ballads  of  hers,  which  long  before  had  made  her  pre- 
eminently the  balladist  of  America.  Many  of  these 
I  cannot  see  now  without  seeming  to  hear  again  the 
thrilling  vibration  of  her  voice,  as  we  heard  it  when 
she  read  the  song  herself  the  very  day  that  it  flowed 
from  heart  and  pen.  Any  time  or  anywhere,  if  I  listen, 
I  can  hear  her  say,  — 

u  In  the  stormy  waters  of  Gallaway 
My  boat  had  been  idle  the  livelong  day, 
Tossing  and  tumbling  to  and  fro, 
For  the  wind  was  high  and  the  tide  was  low. 

"  The  tide  was  low  and  the  wind  was  high, 
And  we  were  heavy,  my  heart  and  1, 

For  not  a  traveller,  all  the  day, 
Had  crossed  the  ferry  of  Gallaway." 


4(  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Phoebe's  lays,  when  grave  or  sad,  almost  always 
savored  of  her  native  soil  and  home  life  ;  but  Alice,  on 
the  rhythm  of  her  lyric,  would  bear  us  far  out  from  th* 
little  room  and  the  roaring  streets,  into  the  very  lane 
of  romance,  to  the  days  of  chivalry  and  "  flower} 
tapestrie."  The  knight  and  lady,  the  crumbling  castle, 
the  tumbling  and  rushing  sea,  became  for  the  moment 
as  real  to  us  as  to  her. 

The  house  below  was  as  attractive  as  above. 

A  small,  richly  stained  window  at  the  head  of  the 
stairs  flooded  the  small  hall  with  gorgeous  light.  This 
hall  was  frescoed  in  panels  of  oak  ;  floor  and  stairs 
covered  with  Brussels  carpet  of  oak  and  scarlet  tints. 
On  its  walls  hung  colored  engravings  of  oxen,  cows, 
and  horses  ploughing  a  field. 

To  the  right  of  the  front  entrance  stood,  wide  open, 
the  door  of  the  spacious  parlor,  within  whose  walls  for 
more  than  fifteen  years  gathered  weekly  so  many  gifted 
and  congenial  souls.  This  parlor  was  a  large  square 
room  with  five  windows,  two  back  and  two  front,  with 
a  deep  bay-window  between.  These  windows  were 
hung  with  lace,  delicately  embroidered,  from  which 
were  looped  back  curtains  of  pale  green  brocatelle 
lined  with  white  silk.  On  either  embrasure  of  the  bay- 
window,  in  Gothic,  gold  illuminated  frames,  stood  two 
altar  pieces,  about  three  feet  high,  from  an  old  church 
in  Milan,  each  bearing  on  a  field  of  gold  an  angel  in 
azure  and  rosy  vestments,  one  playing  on  a  dulcimer, 
the  other  holding  a  golden  palm.  In  antique  letters 
in  black,  beneath,  was  written  on  one  tablet  Psalm  cl. 
3,  and  on  the  other,  the  succeeding  verse  Gf  the  same. 
A  large  oil-painting  of  sheep  lying  on  a  hillside  hung 
at  one  time  over  the  white  marble  mantel ;  later,  a  fine 


THE  PARLOR.  47 

Venetian  scene  from  Turner,  while  on  either  side, 
very  tall  vases  of  ruby  glass  threw  a  wine-like  hue  on 
the  silvery  wall.  On  one  side  of  the  mantel  there  was 
a  rosewood  e'tagere,  lined  with  mirrors,  and  decorated 
with  vases  and  books.  On  the  other  side  there  was 
an  exquisite  copy  in  oil  of  Guido's  "  Aurora,"  brought 
by  a  friend  from  Italy.  Opposite  the  bay-window  a 
very  broad  mirror  rose  from  floor  to  ceiling. 

Lovely  Madonnas  and  other  rare  paintings  covered 
the  walls,  some  of  which  had  been  placed  there  by 
friends  who  had  no  proper  room  for  them.  The  car- 
pet was  of  velvet  in  deep  crimson  and  green  ;  the  chairs 
and  sofas,  which  were  luxurious,  were  also  cushioned 
in  velvet  of  various  blending  hues. 

The  most  remarkable  article  in  the  room  was  the 
large  centre  table,  made  of  many  thousand  mosaics  of 
inlaid  wood,  each  in  its  natural  tint.  Clusters  of  pan- 
sies,  of  the  most  perfect  outline  and  hue,  formed  the 
border  of  the  table,  while  the  extreme  edge  was  inlaid 
in  tints  scarce  wider  than  a  thread.  It  was  a  work  of 
endless  patience,  and  of  the  finest  art.  It  was  made 
by  a  poor  Hungarian  artist,  who  used  nearly  a  whole 
lifetime  in  this  work  of  his  hands.  He  brought  it  to 
this  country  hoping  to  realize  for  it  a  large  sum,  but 
was  compelled  by  necessity,  at  last,  to  part  with  it  for 
a  small  amount.  It  passed  from  various  owners 
before  it  was  bought  by  Alice  Cary  and  placed  in  her 
parlor  as  its  central  shrine,  around  which  gathered 
her  choicest  friends.  Among  the  few  books  lying  on 
a  small  stand  within  the  bay-window  was  "  Ballads  of 
New  England,"  written  and  presented  by  WhittW, 
with  this  inscription  :  — 


48  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 


TO  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE  CARY, 

Who  from  the  farm-field  singing  came, 
The  song  whose  echo  now  is  fame, 
And  to  the  great  false  city  took 
The  honest  hearts  of  Clovernook, 
And  made  their  home  beside  the  sea 
The  trysting-place  of  Liberty. 

From  their  old  friend, 

John  G.  Whittier. 
Christmas,  1869. 

Another  was  a  dainty  book  in  green  and  gold, 
entitled  "The  Golden  Wedding,"  presented  "To 
Phoebe  Cary,  with  the  kind  regards  of  Joseph  and 
Rebecca  W.  Taylor,"  the  parents  of  Bayard  Taylor. 

Across  the  hall,  opposite  the  parlor,  was  the  library, 
which  so  many  will  remember  as  the  very  penetrale  of 
this  home,  in  which  "  the  precious  few  "  were  so  wont 
to  gather  for  converse  and  choice  communion.  These 
words  recall  one  wild  night  of  rain  and  storm,  which 
had  hindered  everybody  else  from  coming  but  Mr. 
Greeley,  when  he  said,  in  the  hour  before  church, 
"  Come,  girls,  let  us  read  '  Morte  d'Arthur  j '  "  and, 
taking  Tennyson  from  the  book-case,  read  from  begin- 
ning to  end  aloud,  "  The  Passing  of  Arthur."  Mr. 
Greeley's  tones,  full  of  deep  feeling,  I  shall  hear  while 
memory  endures,  as  he  read  :  — 

"  Ah  !  my  Lord  Arthur,  whither  shall  I  go  ? 
Where  shall  I  hide  my  forehead  and  my  eyes  ? 
For  now  I  see  the  true  old  times  are  dead, 
When  every  morning  brought  a  noble  chance, 
And  every  chance  brought  out  a  noble  knight. 


But  when  the  whole  Round  Table  is  dissolved, 
Which  was  an  image  of  the  mighty  world  ; 


MR.    GREELEY'S  READING.  49 

And  I,  the  last,  go  forth  companionless, 

And  the  days  darken  round  me,  and  the  years, 

Among  new  men,  strange  faces,  other  minds." 

And  slowly  answered  Arthur  from  the  barge  : 
"The  old  order  changeth,  yielding  place  to  new, 
And  God  fulfills  Himself  in  many  ways, 
Lest  one  good  custom  should  corrupt  the  world. 
Comfort  thyself:  what  comfort  is  in  me  ? 
I  have  lived  my  life,  and  that  which  I  have  done 
May  He  within  Himself  make  pure  !  but  thou, 
If  thou  shouldst  never  see  my  face  again, 
Pray  for  my  soul.     More  things  are  wrought  by  prayet 
Than  this  world  dreams  of.     Wherefore,  let  thy  voice 
Rise  like  a  fountain  for  me  night  and  day. 
For  what  are  men  better  than  sheep  or  goats  s 

That  nourish  a  blind  life  within  the  brain, 
If,  knowing  God,  they  lift  not  hands  of  prayer, 
Both  for  themselves  and  those  who  call  them  friend  ? 
For  so  the  whole  round  earth  is  every  way 
Bound  by  gold  chains  about  the  feet  of  God. 
But  now  farewell.     I  am  going  a  long  way  — 
With  these  thou  seest  —  if  indeed  I  go  — 
(For  all  my  mind  is  clouded  with  a  doubt) 
To  the  island-valley  of  Avilion  ; 
Where  falls  not  hail,  or  rain,  or  any  snow, 
Nor  ever  wind  blows  loudly  ;  but  it  lies 
Deep-meadowed,  happy,  fair  with  orchard  lawns 
And  bowery  hollows  crown'd  with  summer  sea, 
Where  I  will  heal  me  of  my  grievous  wound." 

Alice  settled  far  back  in  her  easy-chair,  listening 
tfith  eloquent  eyes.  Phoebe  sat  on  a  low  hassock, 
playing  with  the  long  necklace  on  her  neck,  every 
bead  of  which  marked  a  friend's  remembrance.  Dear 
sisters !  passed  forever  beyond  the  storm,  we  whom 
the  storm  even  here  has  parted,  may  at  least  recall 
that  hour  of  peace  shared  together! 

This  little  lilvary  was  furnished   in    oak,  its  walls 

4 


3JO  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

frescoed  in  oak  with  panels  of  maroon  shaded  to  crim- 
son. Two  windows  faced  the  street,  the  opposite  end 
being  nearly  taken  up  by  a  large  window  of  stained 
glass  in  which  gold  and  sapphire  lights  commingled. 
Opposite  the  hall  door  was  a  black  marble  mantel 
surmounted  by  a  mirror  set  in  ebony  and  gold.  On 
either  side,  covering  the  entire  length  of  the  room,  were 
open  oaken  book-shelves,  filled  with  over  a  thousand 
volumes,  the  larger  proportion  handsome  library  edi- 
tions of  the  standard  books  of  the  world.  The  windows 
were  hung  with  satin  curtains  of  an  oaken  tinge  edged 
with  maroon.  Between  them  was  a  copy  of  the  Cary 
coat-of-arms,  of  which  Phoebe  was  so  fond,  richly 
framed.  Below,  a  little  gem  in  oil,  of  a  Northampton 
(Massachusetts)  scene,  hung  over  a  small  table  cov- 
ered with  a  crimson  cloth,  on  which  lay  a  very  large 
Family  Bible.  To  the  left  of  the  front  windows  hung 
an  oil  portrait  of  Madame  Le  Brun,  the  famous  French 
artist,  from  an  original  painting  by  herself,  now  hang- 
ing in  the  Florentine  Museum.  On  the  other  side  of 
the  door  hung,  in  oval  frames,  the  portraits  of  Alice  and 
Phoebe,  painted  not  long  after  their  arrival  in  New 
York.  The  marble-topped  table  before  the  stained 
glass  window  was  piled  with  costly  books,  chiefly 
souvenirs  from  friends.  Two  deep  arm-chairs  were 
near,  one  cushioned  in  green,  the  other  in  blue  velvet ; 
the  green,  Alice's  chair  \  the  blue,  Phoebe's.  The 
Brussels  carpet  was  the  exact  counterpart  of  the  walls, 
shaded  in  oak,  maroon,  and  crimson.  You  have  dis- 
covered before  now,  that  the  Cary  home  was  never 
furnished  by  an  upholsterer?  Its  furniture,  its  trinkets 
and  treasures,  were  the  combined  accumulation  of 
twenty  years.    It  was  filled  with  keepsakes  from  friends, 


ALICE'S  HOUSEKEEPING.  5 1 

and  some  of  its  choicest  articles  had  been  bought  at 
intervals,  as  she  could  afford  to  do  so,  by  Alice  at 
Marley's  shop  for  antique  furniture  on  Broadway, 
which  she  took  extreme  pleasure  in  visiting.  Here, 
also,  she  could  gratify  her  taste  for  old  exquisite  china, 
in  which  she  took  the  keenest  delight.  Many  who 
drank  tea  with  her  have  not  forgotten  the  delicate,  egg- 
like cups  out  of  which  they  drank  it.  She  had  a  china 
tea-set  in  her  possession  over  a  hundred  years  old. 
Many  have  the  impression  that  Phcebe  was  the  house- 
keeper of  this  home.  Until  the  summer  of  1869,  this 
was  in  no  sense  true.  Beyond  the  occasional  Sponta- 
neous preparation  of  a  favorite  dish,  Phoebe  had  no 
care  of  the  house.  For  nearly  twenty  years  Alice 
arose,  went  to  market,  and  laid  out  the  entire  house- 
hold plan  of  the  day,  before  Phcebe  appeared  at  break- 
fast. 

Alice  Cary  managed  her  house  with  quiet  system 
and  without  ado.  Her  home  was  beautifully  kept,  the 
kitchen  and  garret  as  perfect  in  their  appointments 
and  as  perfect  in  their  order  as  her  parlor.  She  was 
an  indulgent  mistress,  respecting  the  rights  of  every 
person  in  her  household  as  much  as  her  own,  and  two 
servants  (sisters)  who  were  with  her  when  she  died, 
one  of  whom  closed  Phoebe's  eyes  in  death,  lived  with 
her  many  years. 

Phcebe  did  not  "  take  to  housework,"  but  was  a 
very  queen  of  the  needle.  Over  work-basket  and  cut- 
ting-board she  reigned  supreme,  and  here  held  Alice 
at  disadvantage.  Alice  could  trim  a  bonnet  or  m.ike 
a  cap  to  perfection  ;  with  these,  the  creative  quality  of 
her  needle  ended.  A  dress  subdued  her,  and  brought 
her  a  humble  suppliant  to  the  sewing-throne  of  Phoebe. 


52  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

There  were  at  least  two  weeks  in  early  spring,  and  two 
in  the  autumn,  which  were  called  "  Miss  Lyon's 
weeks,"  when  Alice  was  literally  under  the  paw  of  a 
lion.  Miss  Lyon  was  the  dressmaker.  She  was  quiet, 
kindly,  artistic,  and  necessary  •  therefore,  in  her  king- 
dom, an  unmitigated  tyrant.  Literature  did  not  dare 
to  peep  in  on  Miss  Lyon's  weeks,  or  if  it  did,  it  was 
before  she  came,  or  while  she  was  at  breakfast.  Books 
and  papers  she  would  not  suffer  in  her  sight  after  work 
began.  She  was  always  wanting  "  half  a  yard  more  " 
of  something.  She  was  always  sending  us  out  for 
"  trimmings,"  and,  as  we  rarely  found  the  right  ones, 
was  continually  sending  us  again.  Poor  Alice  !  she 
went  out  six  times  one  hot  morning  to  find  a  stick  of 
braid,  which  Miss  Lyon  insisted  should  have  a  pecul- 
iar kink.  Once  back,  we  had  to  sit  down  beside  her, 
to  "  try  on  "  and  to  assist.  If  we  did  not,  "  we  could 
not  have  our  new  frocks,  that  was  all,"  for  Miss  Lyon 
"  could  not  possibly  go  through  them  alone,  and  she 
had  not  another  day,  not  one,  before  winter."  Thus, 
while  purgatory  reigned  on  Alice's  side  of  the  house, 
Phoebe  in  hers  sat  enthroned  in  serene  satisfaction. 
She  was  no  slave  to  Miss  Lyon,  not  she.  On  the  con- 
trary, while  Miss  Lyon  snubbed  us,  she  crossed  the  hall 
to  consult  Phcebe  in  a  tone  of  deference,  which  (pro- 
fessionally) she  never  condescended  to  bestow  on  her 
victims.  In  Miss  Lyon's  days,  nobody  would  have  sus- 
pected that  the  house  held  a  blue-stocking.  Dry  goods, 
shreds,  and  tags  prevailed  above  stairs,  and  Alice's 
room  looked  like  a  first-class  dressmaker's  shop,  in 
which  Miss  Lyon  ruled  between  two  forlorn  apprentices. 
It  is  not  easy  to  sec  Alice  Gary  in  a  comical  light,  and 
yet  Alice  Cary  in  Phoebe's  door,  holding  up  an  uniin 


"MISS  LYON'S   WEEKS."  53 

ished  sacque,  in  which  she  had  sewed  a  sleeve  upside 
down,  and  made  one  an  inch  shorter  than  the  other, 
with  her  look  of  blended  consternation  and  despair, 
was  a  comical  sight.  Phcebe  was  her  only  refuge  in 
such  a  plight,  and  to  rip  the  sleeve,  trim  it,  right  it, 
and  baste  it  in  again,  was  the  work  of  a  very  few 
minutes  for  her  deft  fingers.  Sacques,  dresses,  cloaks, 
and  hats,  all  cut,  and  fitted,  and  made,  came  out  from 
her  hands  absolutely  perfect,  to  the  wonder  and  envy 
of  the  unfortunates  across  the  hall.  Miss  Lyon,  always 
leaving  her  sceptre  up-stairs,  at  the  table  was  a  sor- 
rowful, communicative  woman,  who  poured  the  story 
of  her  troubles,  her  loneliness,  and  poor  health  into 
sympathizing  ears.  She  tormented  us,  but  we  liked 
her,  and  were  sorry  for  her.  We  comforted  her  when 
she  was  sick,  and  cried  when  she  died,  and  remem- 
bered her  with  a  sigh.  It  was  a  weary  woman's  poor 
little  life  after  all !  She  too  had  her  dream  of  future, 
home,  and  rest ;  but  the  money  that  she  worked  so 
hard  to  earn,  and  denied  herself  the  necessities  of  life 
to  save,  she  saved  to  will  to  a  well-to-do  relative  who 
had  neglected  and  forsaken  her  while  she  lived.  By 
July,  Miss  Lyon's  reign  was  over,  but  the  kingdoms 
she  had  conquered  were  all  visible,  marked  by  the  new 
dresses  lying  in  a  row  on  the  bed  in  the  little  attic 
chamber.  Alas  !  on  that  same  bed  some  of  them  lay 
after  Alice's  death,  untouched.  The  poor  hand  that 
made  them,  and  knotted  their  dainty  ribbons,  and  the 
lovely  form  that  was  to  have  worn  them,  both  alike 
,ocked  from  all  device  in  the  fastness  of  the  grave  ! 

The  only  shadow  resting  on  the  house  was  that  of 
sickness  and  hovering  death.  Nothing  could  have 
been  more  absolutely  harmonious  than  the  daily  abid 


54  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

ing  intercourse  of  these  sisters.  This  was  not  because 
they  always  thought  alike,  nor  because  they  never  in 
any  way  crossed  each  other,  nor  was  it  based  on  their 
devoted  affection  and  perfect  faith  in  each  other  alone. 
Persons  may  believe  in  each  other,  and  love  each  cthei 
dearly,  and  yet  live  in  a  constant  state  of  friction.  It 
was  chiefly  because  each  cherished  a  most  conscien- 
tious consideration  for  the  peculiarities  of  the  other, 
and  because  in  the  minutest  particular  they  treated 
each  other  with  absolute  politeness.  There  is  such  an 
expression  used  as  "  society  manner."  These  sisters 
had  no  manner  for  society  more  charming  in  the  slight- 
est particular,  than  they  had  for  each  other.  No  pun 
ever  came  into  Phoebe's  head  too  bright  to  be  flashed 
over  Alice,  and  Alice  had  no  gentleness  for  strangers 
which  she  withheld  from  Phoebe.  The  perfect  gentle- 
women which  they  were  in  the  parlor,  they  were  always, 
under  every  circumstance.  There  was  not  a  servant 
in  the  house,  who,  in  his  or  her  place,  was  not  treated 
with  as  absolute  a  politeness  as  a  guest  in  the  parlor. 
This  spirit  of  perfect  breeding  penetrated  every  word 
and  act  of  the  household.  What  Alice  and  Phoebe 
Cary  were  in  their  drawing-room,  they  were  always  in 
the  absolute  privacy  of  their  lives.  Each  obeyed  one 
inflexible  law.  Whatever  she  felt  or  endured,  because 
of  it  she  was  not  to  inflict  any  suffering  upon  her  sister ; 
no,  not  even  if  that  sister  had  inadvertently  been  the 
cause  of  it.  If  she  was  "  out  of  sorts,"  she  went 
into  her  own  room,  shut  her  door  and  "  had  it  out " 
by  herself.  Whatever  shape  her  Apollyon  might  take, 
she  fought  with  him,  and  slew  him,  alone.  When  she 
appeared  outside,  it  might  strike  one  that  a  new  line 
of  pain  had  for  the  moment  lit  upon  her  face  ;  that  was 


A    COUNTRY  REST.  $$ 

the  only  sign  of  the  foe  routed.  The  bright  sally,  the 
quiet  smile,  the  perfection  of  gentle  breeding  were  all 
there,  undimmed  and  indestructible. 

The  first  of  July,  Phcebe  went  to  Waldemere, 
Bridgeport,  Conn.,  to  visit  the  family  of  Mr.  P.  T. 
Barnum,  and  then  to  Cambridge,  to  see  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
H.  O.  Houghton ;  from  thence  to  visit  the  family  of 
Rev.  Dr.  B.  F.  Tefft  in  Bangor,  Maine.  Early  in  June, 
Alice  had  been  persuaded  to  visit  a  beloved  niece  in 
the  mountain  region  of  Pennsylvania.  She  remained 
a  week,  and  on  her  return  told  how  the  sweet  country 
air  and  the  smell  of  the  woods  had  brought  back  her 
girlhood.  "  But  I  could  not  stay,"  she  said  ;  "  I  had 
so  much  to  do."  Nor  would  she  be  induced  to  go 
again,  though  loving  friends  urged,  indeed  entreated 
her  to  leave  her  desk,  and  the  heat  and  turmoil  of  the 
city. 

Physically  and  mentally  she  needed  change  and 
respite  from  the  overstrain  of  too  long  continued  toil. 
A  summer  in  the  country,  at  this  crisis  in  her  health, 
could  not  have  failed  to  renovate,  if  not  to  restore  life. 
But  she  clung  to  her  home,  her  own  room  and  sur- 
roundings, and  to  her  work,  and  reluctantly  Phcebe 
went  forth  to  the  kind  friends  awaiting  her,  alone. 
That  was  a  mystical  month  that  followed,  that  month 
of  July.  The  very  walls  of  the  houses  seemed  changed 
into  burning  brass.  The  sun,  uncooled  by  showers, 
rose  and  set,  tracking  all  his  course  with  a  consuming 
fire.      I  ody  who  could  escape,  had  lied    the   city. 

During  the  entire  month  I  do  not  remember  that  one 
person,  not  of  the  small  household,  crossed  the  thresh" 
old.  We  closed  blinds  and  doors,  and  were  alone. 
Apart  at  work  all  day,  we  spent  our  evenings  together* 


56  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

In  those  summer  nights,  with  the  blinds  opened  to  let 
in  a  stray  breeze  from  the  bay,  with  no  light  but  the 
fitful  flicker  of  the  lamp  across  the  street,  in  the  si- 
lence and  dimness,  feeling  the  whole  world  shut  out 
and  far  away  ;  then  it  was  that  the  flood-gates  of  mem- 
ory opened,  and  one  received  into  her  soul,  with  a  depth 
and  fullness  and  sacredness  never  to  be  expressed,  that 
which  was  truly  Alice  Cary's  life. 

In  August,  Alice  wrote  to  me  at  Newport :  "  Phoebe 
is  still  away,  and  I  alone  in  the  house ;  but  busy  as  a 
bee  from  morning  till  night.  I  often  hear  it  said  that 
people,  as  they  grow  older,  lose  their  interest  in  things 
around  them  ;  but  this  is  not  true  of  me.  I  take  more 
interest  in  life,  in  all  that  concerns  it,  and  in  human 
beings,  every  year  I  live.  If  I  fail  of  bringing  some- 
thing worthy  to  pass,  I  don't  mean  that  it  shall  be  for 
lack  of  energy  or  industry.  I'm  putting  the  house  in 
order,  and  have  such  new  and  pleasant  plans  for  the 
winter.  Do  hasten  back,  that  I  may  tell  you  all  about 
them."  In  two  weeks  I  returned,  and,  going  at  once 
to  her  familiar  room,  she  met  me  on  the  threshold 
without  a  word.  As  she  kissed  me,  her  tears  fell 
upon  my  face ;  and,  looking  up,  I  saw  the  change  in 
hers.  The  Indian  summer  of  youth,  which  had  made 
it  so  fair,  four  little  weeks  before,  had  now  gone 
from  it  forever;  the  shadow  of  the  grave  reached 
it  already. 

"Since  I  wrote  you,"  she  said,  "my  only  sister, 
save  Phoebe,  has  died  j  and  look  at  me  !  "  She  moved, 
and  I  saw  that  the  graceful,  swaying  movement,  so 
especially  hers,  was  gone  —  that  she  was  hopelessly 
lame. 

Thus  that  first  of  September  began  the  last,  fierce 


SUFFERING.  57 

struggle  between  life  and  death,  which  was  to  continue 
for  seventeen  months.  Only  God  and  his  ministering 
angels  know  with  what  pangs  that  soul  and  body 
parted.  I  cannot  think  of  it  without  a  shudder  and  a 
sigh  —  a  shudder  for  the  agony,  a  sigh  for  that  patient 
and  tender  and  loving  heart,  so  full  of  life  and  yearn- 
ing amid  the  anguish  of  dissolving  nature.  At  first 
it  seemed  impossible  that  she  could  remain  lame. 
Each  day  wc  said  :  "  To  morrow  you  must  come  down- 
stairs again."  But,  save  with  crutches,  she  never 
walked  again.  In  the  beginning  it  seemed  impossible 
for  her  to  adjust  her  mind  or  habits  to  this  fact,  or  to 
realize  that  she  was  not  able  to  join  the  familiar  circle 
around  the  Sunday  evening  tea-table.  Yet  the  more 
impossible  it  became  for  her  to  participate  personally, 
the  more  eager  she  became  for  the  happiness  of  others. 
She  would  have  us  dress  in  her  room,  that  she  might 
refresh  her  eyes  with  bright  colors ;  and  leave  the 
door  of  her  room  open,  that  she  might  hear  the  tones 
of  dear,  familiar  voices  coming  up  from  below.  When 
tea  was  cheering,  and  speech  and  laughter  flowing 
freest,  there  was  something  inexpressibly  touching  in 
the  thought  of  the  woman  who  provided  this  cheer  for 
so  many,  sitting  by  herself  in  a  darkened  room,  sick  and 
alone.  Once,  in  going  up  to  her,  I  found  her  weep- 
ing. "You  should  not  have  left  the  others,"  she  said 
"  My  only  pleasure  is  in  thinking  that  you  are  all 
happy  down-stairs.  But  it  makes  me  cry  to  think  that 
I  am  clone  with  it  all ;  that  in  one  sense  I  am  as  fai 
away  from  you  in  health,  as  if  I  were  already  in  eter- 
nity." 

In  the  early  dawn  of  a  wintry  morning,  I  went  in  to 
her  bedside  to  say  good-by.     The  burning  hands  out- 


58  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

stretched,  the  tearful,  beseeching  eyes,  the  low  voice 
burdened  with  loving  farewell,  are  among  the  most 
precious  and  pathetic  of  all  the  treasures  which  faith* 
ful  memory  bears  on  to  her  in  the  land  where  she 
now  is. 


SUNDAY  EVENING  RECEPTIONS.  59 


CHAPTER  IV. 

THEIR  SUNDAY  EVENING  RECEPTIONS. 

The  most  resplendent  social  assemblies  which  the 
world  has  ever  seen  have  been  those  in  which  philoso- 
phy, politics,  and  literature  mingled  with  ^fortune, 
rank,  beauty,  grace,  and  wit.  Nor  was  this  commin- 
gling of  dazzling  human  forces  identical  only  with  the 
Parisian  salon.  "  Blue-stocking  "  in  our  day  is  synony- 
mous only  with  a  stiff,  stilted,  queer  literary  woman  of 
a  dubious  age.  Yet  the  first  blue-stocking,  Elizabeth 
Montague,  was  a  woman  who  dazzled  with  her  wit,  as 
well  as  by  her  beauty,  and  who  blazed  with  diamonds 
at  fourscore.  A  purely  blue-stocking  party,  to-day, 
would  doubtless  give  us  sponge  cake,  weak  tea,  and 
the  dreariest  of  driveling  professional  talk.  Yet  the 
first  assemblies  which  bore  the  name  of  blue-stocking 
were  made  up  of  actors,  divines,  beaux,  belles,  the 
pious  and  the  worldly,  the  learned  and  the  fashionable, 
the  titled  and  the  lowly  born.  Here,  in  the  drawing- 
room  of  Montague  House,  mingling  gayly  together, 
might  have  been  seen  volatile  Mrs.  Thrale,  wise  Han- 
nah More,  and  foolish  Fanny  Burney  j  the  Greek 
scholar,  Elizabeth  Carter,  with  Garrick,  Johnson,  Rey- 
nolds, Young,  Beattie,  Burke,  Lord  Karnes,  Lord 
Chatham,  and  Horace  Walpole,  with  many  otln 
personally    brilliant    if   less    renowned.      One    04  vei 


60  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

thinks  of  calling  a  man  a  blue-stocking  now ;  yet  it 
was  a  man  who  first  wore  "  cerulean  hose  "  in  a  fash- 
ionable assembly  —  Dr.  Stillingfleet,  who  was  a  sloven 
as  well  as  a  scholar.  Admiral  Boscawen,  glancing  at 
his  gray-blue  stockings,  worn  at  one  of  Mrs.  Mon- 
tague's assemblies,  gave  it  the  name  of  the  Blue-stock* 
ing  Assembly,  to  indicate  that  the  full  dress,  still 
indispensable  to  evening  parties,  might  be  dispensed 
with,  if  a  person  so  chose,  at  Mrs.  Montague's.  A 
Frenchman,  catching  at  the  phrase,  exclaimed,  "Ahl 
les  bas  bleus  /  "  And  the  title  has  clung  to  the  literary 
woman  ever  since. 

The  nearest  approach  to  the  first  ideal  blue-stock- 
ing reception  ever  reached  in  this  country  was  the 
Sunday  evening  receptions  of  Alice  and  Phoebe  Cary. 
Here,  for  over  fifteen  years,  in  an  unpretending  home, 
gathered  not  only  the  most  earnest,  but  many  of  the 
most  brilliant  Americans  of  our  time.  There  are  like 
assemblies  still,  wherein  men  and  women  rich  in  all  fine 
gifts  and  graces  meet  and  mingle ;  yet  I  doubt  if  there 
be  one  so  catholic,  so  finely  comprehensive,  as  to  make 
it  the  rallying  spot,  the  outraying  centre  of  the  artistic 
and  literary  life  of  the  metropolis.  Its  central  magnet 
lost,  such  a  circle,  once  broken  and  scattered  in  all  its 
parts,  cannot  be  easily  regathered  and  bound.  Society 
must  wait  till  another  soul,  equally  potent,  sweet,  un 
selfish,  sympathetic,  and  centripetal,  shall  draw  together 
once  more  its  scattered  forces  in  one  common  bond. 
For  the  relief  of  Puritan  friends  who  are  troubled  that 
those  receptions  occurred  on  Sabbath  evening,  I  must 
say  that  they  never  hindered  anybody  from  going  to 
church.  Horace  Greeley,  who  never  missed  a  Sabbath 
evening  in  this  house  when  in  the  city,  used  to  drink 


MR.    GREELEY  AT  THE   CARYS\  6l 

his  two  cups  of  sweetened  milk  and  water,  say  his  say, 
and  then  suddenly  vanish,  to  go  and  speak  at  a  tem- 
perance meeting,  to  listen  to  Dr.  Chapin,  or  to  write 
his  Monday  morning  leader  for  the  "  Tribune." 
Sabbath  evening  was  their  reception  evening  because 
it  was  the  only  one  which  the  sisters  had  invariably 
free  from  labor ;  and,  as  a  rule,  this  was  equally  true 
of  their  guests.  While  her  health  permitted,  Alice  at- 
tended church  regularly  every  Sunday  morning,  and 
till  her  last  sickness  Phoebe  was  a  faithful  church-goer; 
but  Sabbath  evening  was  their  own  and  their  friends'. 
In  their  receptions  there  was  no  formality,  no>  rule  of 
dress.  You  could  come  as  simply  or  as  finely  ar- 
rayed as  you  chose.  Your  costly  costume  would  not 
increase  your  welcome,  nor  your  shabby  attire  place 
you  at  discount.  Indeed,  if  anything  about  you  ever 
so  remotely  suggested  poverty  or  loneliness,  it  would, 
at  the  earliest  possible  moment,  bring  Alice  to  your 
side.  Her  dark,  gentle,  tender  eyes  would  make  you 
feel  at  home  at  once.  You  would  forget  your  clothes 
and  yourself  altogether,  in  a  quiet,  impersonal,  friendly 
flow  of  talk  which  would  begin  at  once  between  you. 
If  a  stranger,  she  would  be  sure  not  to  leave  you  till 
Phoebe  came,  or  till  she  had  introduced  you  to  some 
pleasant  person,  and  you  would  not  find  yourself  again 
alone  during  the  evening.  This  was  the  distinctive 
characteristic  of  these  Sunday  evenings,  that  they 
opened  welcoming  doors  to  all  sympathetic  souls, 
without  the  slightest  reference  to  the  state  of  their 
finances  or  mere  worldly  condition. 

"  What  queer  people  you  do  see  at  the  Carys'  !  l\ 
is  as  good  as  a  show  !  "  exclaimed  a  merely  fashion 
able  woman. 


62  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  I  have  no  desire  to  go  to  the  CarysV'  said  a  super- 
cilious literary  dame,  "  while  they  admit  such  people." 

"  Why,  they  are  reputable,  are  they  not  ?  "  was  the 
astonished  reply. 

"  For  aught  I  know ;  but  they  are  so  odd,  and  they 
have  no  position  —  absolutely  none." 

"  Then  the  more  they  must  need  friends,  Alice  and 
Phcebe  think.  They  contradict  Goldsmith's  assertion  : 
1  If  you  want  friends,  be  sure  not  to  need  them.1  " 

Phoebe's  attention  was  called  one  day  to  a  young 
man,  poor,  little  known,  ungraceful  in  bearing,  and 
stiff  in  manner,  who  had  artistic  tastes  and  a  desire  to 
know  artistic  people,  and  who  sometimes  came  quietly 
into  the  little  library,  on  Sunday  evening,  without 
any  special  invitation,  but  who  no  less  was  cordially 
received. 

" says  she  is  astonished  that  you  receive  him," 

said  a  friend.  "  He  is  so  pushing  and  presumptuous, 
and  his  family  is  very  common." 

"  You  tell ,"  said  Phcebe,  with  a  flash  in   her 

black  eyes,  "  that  we  like  him  very  much  ;  that  he  is 
just  as  welcome  here  as  she  is,  and  we  are  always  glad 
to  see  her." 

There  are  centres  of  reunion  still  in  New  York, 
where  literary,  artistic,  and  cultured  peop]<-  meet; 
but  we  doubt  if  there  is  another  wherein'  the  poor 
and  unknown,  of  aspiring  tastes  and  refined  sensibil- 
ities, could  be  so  certain  of  an  entire,  unconscious 
welcome,  untinged  by  even  the  suggestion  of  conde- 
scension or  of  patronage  ;  where,  in  plain  garb  and  with 
unformed  manners,  they  could  come  and  be  at  home. 
Yet  the  Sunday  evening  reception  was  by  no  means 
the  rendezvous  of  the  queer  and  ne'er-do-well  alone, 


THEIR    VISITORS.  63 

During  the  fifteen  years  or  more  in  which  it  flourished, 
at  the  little  house  in  Twentieth  Street,  it  numbered 
among  its  guests  and  habitues  as  many  remarkable 
men  and  women  as  ever  gathered  around  the  abun- 
dant board  at  Streatham,  or  sat  in  the  library  of  Straw- 
berry Hill. 

There  was  Horace  Greeley,  who  so  rarely  missed  a 
Sabbath  evening  at  this  house  —  a  man  in  mind  greater 
than  Johnson,  and  in  manners  not  unlike  him  j  who  will 
live  in  the  future  among  the  most  famous  of  his  con- 
temporaries, as  the  man  who,  perhaps,  more  than  any 
other,  left  his  own  distinctive,  individual  mark  upon  the 
times  in  which  he  lived.  There  was  Oliver  Johnson, 
rarely  absent  from  that  cheery  tea-table,  the  apostle  of 
human  freedom,  who  stood  in  the  van  of  its  feeble 
guard  when  it  cost  much  to  do  tjiat ;  strong,  earnest, 
brave,  and  true,  a  king  of  radicals,  whose  swiftest  the- 
ories never  outran  his  faith  in  God,  his  love  for  human 
nature,  his  self-abnegating  devotion  to  his  friends,  even 
when  his  only  reward  was  selfishness  and  unworthiness. 
There  was  Mary  Ann  Johnson,  his  wife,  so  recently 
translated,  whose  memory  of  simple,  dignified,  wise, 
and  tender  womanhood  is  a  precious  and  imperishable 
legacy  to  all  who  ever  knew  and  loved  her.  And  Julia 
Deane,  Alice  Cary's  beloved  friend,  golden-haired, 
matchless  as  a  Grecian  goddess.  I  see  her  now  as  I 
saw  her  first,  in  the  radiance  of  her  undimmed  beauty, 
sitting  by  Whittier's  side,  great  poet  and  gentle  man, 
in  his  plain  Friends'  garb,  yet  worshipping,  as  man  and 
poet  must,  the  loveliness  of  woman  !  What  a  troop  of 
names,  more  or  less  famous,  arise  as  I  recall  those  who 
at  different  times  have  mingled  in  those  receptions  1 
Bayard  Taylor,  with  his  gifted  and  lovely  wife  ;  the  twe 


64  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

married  poets,  Richard  and  Elizabeth  Stoddard  ;  Pro£ 
R.  W.  Raymond,  Robert  Dale  Owen,  Justin  McCarthy, 
Hon.  Henry  Wilson,  Samuel  Bowles,  George  Ripley, 
Edwin  Whipple,  Richard  Kimball,  Thomas  JB.  Aid  rich, 
Carpenter  (the  artist),  Robert  Chambers  of  Edinburgh, 
Robert  Bonner  of  New  York,  a  man  as  generous  in 
nature  and  pure  in  character  as  he  has  been  preem- 
inently successful  in  acquiring  wealth  and  fame,  and 
who  for  many  years,  till  their  death,  was  the  faithful 
friend  of  Alice  and  Phcebe.  Among  clergymen  there 
were  Rev.  Dr.  Abel  Stevens,  Methodist ;  Rev.  Dr. 
Chapin,  Universalist ;  Rev.  Dr.  Field,  Presbyterian  ; 
Rev.  Dr.  Deems,  Methodist.  Whatever  their  theolo- 
gies, all  agreed  in  their  faith  in  womanhood,  as  they 
found  it  embodied  in  Alice  and  Phcebe  Cary.  Among 
women  much  beloved  by  the  sisters,  who  always  had 
the  entree  of  their  home,  were  Mary  L.  Booth,  Mrs. 
Wright,  Mrs.  Mary  E.  Dodge,  Mrs.  Croly,  Mrs. 
Victor,  Mrs.  Rayl,  Mrs.  Mary  Stevens  Robinson.  I 
have  not  space  for  one  tenth  of  the  names  I  might 
recall  —  actors,  artists,  poets,  clergymen,  titled  people 
from  abroad,  women  of  fashion,  women  of  letters, 
women  of  home,  the  known  and  the  unknown.  In 
each  type  and  class  they  found  friends  ;  and  what 
better  proof  could  be  given  of  the  richness  of  their 
humanity,  that,  without  being  narrowed  by  any,  their 
hearts  were  large  enough  for  all ! 

Perhaps  neither  sister  could  have  attracted  into  one 
coirmon  circle  so  many  minds,  various,  if  not  conflict- 
ing in  their  separate  sphere  of  thought  and  action. 
Each  sister  was  the  counterpart  of  the  other.  To  the 
sympathy,  appreciation,  tact,  gentleness,  and  tender- 
ness of  Alice  were  added  the  wit  and  bonhomie  and 


THEIR    VISITORS  65 

Bparkling  cheer  of  Phcebe.  The  combination  was  per- 
fect for  social  effect  and  success. 

Rev.  Charles  F.  Deems,  Phoebe's  pastor  at  the  time 
of  her  death,  and  the  cherished  and  trusted  friend  of 
both  sisters,  at  the  request  of  its  editor  wrote  for 
"Packard's  Monthly,"  February,  1870,  an  article  enti- 
tled "  Alice  and  Phcebe  Cary :  Their  Home  and 
Friends,"  which  contains  so  vivid  a  sketch  of  some  of 
their  Sunday  evening  visitors  that  I  quote  from  it :  — 

"  If  they  could  all  be  gathered  into  one  room,  it 
would  really  be  a  sight  to  see  all  the  people  who  have 
been  attracted  by  these  charming  women  during  the 
years  they  have  occupied  this  cozy  home.  Let  us 
fancy  that  they  are  so  collected. 

"  There  is,  facile  princeps  of  their  friends,  Horace 
Greeley  —  not  so  very  handsome,  perhaps,  but  owing 
so  much  to  his  toilet !  He  is  sitting  in  a  listening  or 
abstracted  attitude,  with  his  great,  full  head  bent,  or 
smiling  all  over  his  great  baby  face  as  he  hears  or  tells 
something  good  j  perhaps  especially  enjoying  the 
famous  Quaker  sermon  which  Oliver  Johnson,  of  the 
1  Independent,'  is  telling  with  such  friendly  accentu- 
ation, and  with  such  command  over  his  strong  features, 
while  all  the  company  are  at  the  point  of  explosion. 
That  round-headed  Professor  of  Rhetoric  in  the  cor- 
ner, who  reads  Shakespeare  in  a  style  that  would  make 
the  immortal  William  thrill  if  he  could  only  hear  him, 
is  Professor  Raymond.  That  slightly  built  man  with 
a  heavy  moustache  is  Lord  Adare,  son  of  a  Scotch 
Earl ;  and  the  bonny,  bright-eyed  woman  by  his  side  is 
his  wife  —  immensely  pleased  with  Phoebe's  frequent 

and  rapid  sallies  of  wit.      And  there  are   Robert   Dak 
Owen,  author  of  '  Footfalls  on  the  Boundary  of  Another 
5 


66  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

World,'  and  Edwin  Whipple,  the  Boston  essayist,  and 
lecturer,  whose  forehead  doth  so  forcibly  oppress  all 
the  rest  of  his  face  ;  and  there,  Samuel  Bowles,  of  the 
'Springfield  Republican/  and  author  of  'Across  the 
Continent ; '  and  the  nobly  built  and  genial  traveller, 
Col.  Thomas  W.  Knox,  of  the  '  Sun,'  who  has  charmed 
us  so  in  print  with  his  sketches  of  Russia  and  Siberia, 
and  who  can  talk  quite  as  well  as  he  can  write  j  and 
there,  Justin  McCarthy,  formerly  of  the  London 
1  Morning  Star,'  and  author  of  '  My  Enemy's  Daugh- 
ter ; '  and  that  handsome  old  gentleman,  with  the 
smile  of  the  morning  in  his  face,  so  courtly  that  you 
feel  he  should  be  some  king's  prime  minister,  and  so 
venerable  that  he  would  give  dignity  to  an  arch- 
bishop's crozier,  is  Ole  Bull,  whose  cunning  hands 
have  wrung  ravishing  music  from  the  strings  of  the 
violin  ;  and  just  beyond,  burly  and  full  of  good  nature, 
is  Phineas  T.  Barnum,  '  showman,'  and  more  than 
that,  with  great  brains,  which  would  have  made  him 
notable  in  any  department.  If  the  public  have  had 
pleasure  in  seeing  his  shows,  he  has  had  pleasure  in 
studying  the  public ;  and  his  knowledge  of  human 
nature  makes  him  a  most  entertaining  talker.  If  any 
have  thought  of  him  only  as  a  '  humbugger,'  let  the 
profound  regard  he  has  for  these  sincere  and  honest 
ladies,  whose  guest  he  so  often  is,  plead  against  all 
that  he  has  confessed  against  himself  in  his  auto- 
biography. He  'does  good  by  stealth,  and  blushes  to 
find  it  fame,'  but  tells  all  the  bad  about  himself  un- 
blushingly.  A  whole  group  of  editors  might  be  fan- 
cied—  only  that  they  have  enough  of  each  other 
f  down  town,'  and  so  in  society  seek  some  one  else, 
and   do   not  ■  group : '   for  there   are   Dr.  Field,    the 


THEIR    VISITORS.  67 

excellent  editor  of  the  '  Evangelist ; '  and  Mr.  El 
liott  and  Mr.  Perry,  of  the  '  Home  Journal  j '  and 
Whitelaw  Re.id,  of  the  'Tribune;'  and  Mr.  R.  W 
Gilder,  of  the  '  Hours  at  Home  • '  and  last  but  not 
least,  Mr.  Robert  Bonner,  of  the  '  Ledger, '  of  whom, 
seeing  that  I  have  never  had  literary  and  financial 
dealings  with  him  on  my  own  account,  I  may  say  that 
he  has  made  illustrious  the  proverb,  '  There  is  that 
scattereth,  and  yet  increased!.'  The  publishers  are 
represented  by  Robert  Chambers,  of  Edinburgh,  who 
has  given  so  much  '  Information  for  the  People '  that 
people  need  not  be  informed  who  he  is  ;  and  peorge 
W.  Carleton,  the  prince  of  publishers,  whose  elegant 
new  book  house,  on  Broadway,  has  already  become 
the  resort  of  literary  and  tasteful  people. 

"And  then,  what  ladies  have  been  in  that  house  ! 
How  many  of  the  most  refined  and  noble  women, 
whose  names  are  unknown  to  fame,  but  whose  minds 
and  manners  have  given  to  society  its  aroma  and 
beauty !  How  many  whose  names  are  known  all  over 
Christendom  !  If  that  of  Elizabeth  Cady  Stanton 
suggests  to  a  stranger — as,  until  I  knew  her,  it  cer- 
tainly did  to  me  —  anything  not  beautifully  feminine, 
how  he  will  be  disappointed  when  he  sees  her.  She 
is  quiet,  self-poised,  *  lady-like'  —  for  she  is  a  lady 
—  plump  as  a  partridge,  of  warm  complexion,  has  a 
well  formed  head,  adorned  with  white  hair,  put  up  un- 
Btiffly  in  puffs,  and  she  would  anywhere  be  taken  for 
the  mother  of  a  governor  or  president,  if  governors 
and  presidents  were  always  gentlemen.  I  have  stud- 
ied Mrs.  Stanton  hours  at  a  sitting,  when  she  was 
presiding  over  a  public  meeting  in  the  Cooper  Union, 
#hen  the  brazen  women  who  have  brought  such  bad 


68  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

fame  to  the  Woman's  Rights  movement  were  trying  to 
secure  '  the  floor,'  and  gaunt  fanatics  of  my  own  sex 
were  contending  with  them  for  that  '  privilege/  and 
the  mob  were  hissing  or  shouting,  and  the  tact  with 
which  Mrs.  Stanton  managed  that  whole  assembly  was 
a  marvel.  Except  Henry  Clay,  of  Kentucky,  and 
Edward  Stanly,  formerly  of  North  Carolina  and  now 
of  California,  she  is  the  best  presiding  officer  I  have 
ever  seen. 

"  And  that  nice  little  person  with  short  curls,  so  ad- 
mirably dressed,  and  self-sufficient,  and  handsome, 
not  beautiful  ;  her  tout  ensemble  a  combination  of  au- 
thor, artist,  actor  —  strong  as  a  young  man  and  sensi- 
tive as  a  young  woman  —  is  Anna  Dickinson.  And 
there,  with  so  thoughtful  a  face,  sits  Mary  L.  Booth, 
industrious  and  accurate  translator  of  huge  volumes  of 
French  history  and  science,  and  now  editor  of  '  Har- 
per's Bazan'  Her  conversation  is  an  intellectual  treat. 
And  there  is  Madame  Le  Vert,  of  Mobile,  who  in 
English  and  American  society  has  so  long  held  the 
place  of  '  the  most  charming  woman,'  without  arous- 
ing the  envy  of  any  other  woman,  and  who,  therefore, 
must  have  an  exceptional  temperament ;  a  lady  who 
never  says  a  very  wise,  or  witty,  or  weak,  or  foolish 
thing,  but  whom  you  cannot  speak  with  ten  minutes 
without  —  weakly  and  foolishly  it  may  be,  but  delight- 
fully—  feeling  yourself  to  be  both  wise  and  witty. 
1  It  is  not  always  May,'  even  with  Madame  Le  Vert. 
She  has  had  losses  and  disappointments,  and  physica\ 
pain,  and  is  no  longer  young,  but  she  does  marvel- 
ously  draw  the  summer  of  her  soul  through  the 
autumn  months  of  her  years.  But  space  would  fail  if 
each    lady   were   particularly   described,    from    Kate 


CLERICAL   GUESTS.  6$ 

Field,  the  brilliant  journalist  and  lecturer,  and  'Jen 
nie  June '  (Mrs.  Croly  of  '  Demorest's  Magazine '), 
and  Mary  E.  Dodge,  of  '  Hearth  and  Home,'  who 
wrote  '  Hans  Brinker's  Silver  Skates/  to  the  sallow,, 
self-denying  missionary  sister  from  Cavalla,  clad  in 
the  costume  of  ten  years  ago,  now  a  stranger  in  her 
own  land. 

"  Of  the  spiritual  teachers,  all  are  welcome  at  any 
time,  from  the  Roman  Catholic,  John  Jerome  Hughes, 
and  the  eloquent  Universalist,  Chapin,  to  the  ad- 
jective-yet-to-be-discovered Frothingham.  The  house 
of  the  Cary  sisters  is  a  Pantheon,  a  Polytechnic  In- 
stitute, a  room  of  the  Committee  on  Reconstruction, 
a  gathering  place  for  the  ecclesiastical  and  political 
Happy  Family.  Original  abolitionists  and  ^-original 
secessionists  meet  pleasantly  in  a  circle  where  every- 
body thinks,  but  nobody  is  tabooed  for  what  he 
thinks. 

"  A  great  city  is  generally  a  mass  of  cold,  but  there 
are  always  'warm  places'  even  in  a  huge  metropolis; 
and  strangers  are  peculiarly  endowed  with  the  instinct 
for  detecting  them.  It  is  genuine  goodness  that  does 
the  warming.     And  this  house  is  never  cold  ! 

"  Thus  is  shown  that  these  sisters  are  authors  of 
more  than  books.  Their  influence  in  their  home  is 
beautiful,  and  conservative,  and  preservative. 

"  May  they  live  forever  2  " 


7©  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 


CHAPTER  V. 

ALICE   CARY.  —  THE   WOMAN. 

Years  ago,  in  an  old  academy  in  Massachusetts,  its 
preceptor  gave  to  a  young  girl  a  poem  to  learn  for  a 
Wednesday  exercise.     It  began,  — 

"  Of  all  the  beautiful  pictures 

That  hang  on  Memory's  wall, 
Is  one  of  a  dim  old  forest, 
That  seemeth  best  of  all." 

After  the  girl  had  recited  the  poem  to  her  teacher,  he 
told  her  that  Edgar  Poe  had  said,  and  that  he  himself 
concurred  in  the  opinion,  that  in  rhythm  it  was  one  of 
the  most  perfect  lyrics  in  the  English  language.  He 
then  proceeded  to  tell  the  story  of  the  one  who  wrote 
it — of  her  life  in  her  Western  home,  of  the  fact  that 
she  and  her  sister  Phoebe  had  come  to  New  York 
to  seek  their  fortune,  and  to  make  a  place  for  them- 
selves in  literature.  It  fell  like  a  tale  of  romance  on 
the  girl's  heart ;  and  from  that  hour  she  saved  every 
utterance  that  she  could  find  of  Alice  Cary's,  and  spent 
much  time  thinking  about  her,  till  in  a  dim  way  she 
came  to  seem  like  a  much-loved  friend. 

In  1857  the  school-girl,  then  a  woman,  whom  actual 
life  had  already  overtaken,  sat  for  the  first  time  in  a 
New  York  drawing-room,  and  looked  with  attentive  but 
by  no  means  dazzled  eyes  upon  a  gathering  assembly 


ALICE   CARY.  71 

It  does  not  follow,  because  a  person  has  done  some- 
thing remarkable,  that  he  is,  therefore,  remarkable  01 
even  pleasant  to  look  upon.  Thus  it  happened  that 
the  young  woman  had  numerous  disappointments  that 
evening,  as  one  by  one  names  famous  in  literature  and 
art  were  pronounced,  and  their  owners  for  the  first 
time  took  on  the  semblance  of  flesh  and  blood  before 
her.  Presently  came  into  the  room,  and  sat  down 
beside  her,  a  lady,  whose  eyes,  in  their  first  glance, 
and  whose  voice,  in  its  first  low  tone,  won  her  heart. 
Soft,  sad,  tender  eyes  they  were,  and  the  face  from 
which  they  shone  was  lovely.  Its  features  were  fine, 
its  complexion  a  colorless  olive,  lit  with  the  lustrous 
brown  eyes,  softened  still  more  by  masses  of  waving 
dark  hair,  then  untouched  of  gray,  and,  save  by  its 
own  wealth,  wholly  unadorned.  Her  dress  was  as 
harmonious  as  her  face.  It  was  of  pale  gray  satin, 
trimmed  with  folds  of  ruby  velvet ;  a  dress  like  herself 
and  her  life — soft  and  sad  in  the  background,  bor- 
dered with  brightness.  This  was  Alice  Cary.  Even 
then  her  face  was  a  history,  not  a  prophecy.  Even 
then  it  bore  the  record  of  past  suffering,  and  in  the 
tqnder  eyes  there  still  lingered  the  shadow  of  many 
vanished  dreams.  Thus  the  story  of  the  old  academy 
was  made  real  and  doubly  beautiful  to  the  stranger. 
The  Alice  Cary  whom  she  had  imagined  had  never 
been  quite  so  lovely  as  the  Alice  Cary  whom  she  that 
moment  saw.  That  evening  began  a  friendship 
between  two  women  on  which,  till  its  earthly  close,  no 
shadow  ever  fell. 

As  I  sit  here  thinking  of  her,  I  realize  how  futile 
will  be  any  effort  of  mine  to  make  a  memorial  worthy 
of  my  friend.     The  woman  in  herself  so  far  transcended 


72  ALICE  AND  PH(EBE   CARY. 

any  work  of  art  that  she  ever  wrought,  any  song  (sweet 
as  her  songs  were)  that  she  ever  sung,  that  even  to 
attempt  to  put  into  words  what  she  was  seems  hope- 
less. Yet  it  is  an  act  of  justice,  no  less  than  of  love, 
that  one  who  knew  her  in  the  sanctuary  of  her  life 
should,  at  least  partly,  lift  the  veil  which  ever  hung 
between  the  lovely  soul  and  the  world  j  that  the 
women  of  this  land  may  see  more  clearly  the  sister 
whom  they  have  lost,  who,  in  what  she  was  herself,  was 
so  much  more  than  in  what  she  in  mortal  weakness 
was  able  t)  do  —  at  once  an  example  and  glory  to 
American  womanhood.  It  must  ever  remain  a  grief  to 
those  who  knew  her  and  loved  her  best,  that  such  a  soul 
as  hers  should  have  missed  its  highest  earthly  reward ; 
but,  if  she  can  still  live  on  as  an  incentive  and  a  friend 
to  those  who  remain,  she  at  least  is  comforted  now  for 
all  she  suffered  and  all  she  missed  here. 

The  life  of  one  woman  who  has  conquered  her  own 
spirit,  who,  alone  and  unassisted,  through  the  mas- 
tery of  her  own  will,  has  wrought  out  from  the  hardest 
and  most  adverse  conditions  a  pure,  sweet,  and  noble 
life,  placed  herself  among  the  world's  workers,  made 
her  heart  and  thought  felt  in  ten  thousand  unknown 
homes  —  the  life  of  one  such  woman  is  worth  more  to 
all  living  women,  proves  more  for  the  possibilities  of 
womanhood,  for  its  final  and  finest  advancement,  its 
ultimate  recognition  and  highest  success,  than  ten 
thousand  theories  or  eloquent  orations  on  the  theme. 
Such  a  woman  was  Alice  Cary.  Mentally  and  spirit- 
ually she  was  especially  endowed  with  the  rarest  gifts  ; 
but  no  less,  the  lowliest  of  all  her  sisters  may  take  on 
new  faith  and  courage  from  her  life.  It  may  not  be 
for  you  to  sing  till  the  whole  land  listens,  but  it  is  in 


THE    WOMAN  AND    THE  POET  73 

your  power,  in  a  narrower  sphere,  to  emulate  the  traits 
which  brought  the  best  success  to  her  in  her  wider  life. 
Many  personally  impress  us  with  the  fact  that  they 
have  wrought  into  the  forms  of  art  the  very  best  in  them- 
selves. Whatever  they  may  have  embodied  in  form, 
color,  or  thought,  we  are  sure  that  it  is  the  most  that 
they  have  to  give,  and  in  giving  that,  they  are  by  so 
much  themselves  impoverished.  In  their  own  souls 
they  hold  nothing  rarer  in  reserve.  The  opposite  was 
true  of  Alice  Cary.  You  could  not  know  her  without 
learning  that  the  woman  in  herself  was  far  greater  and 
sweeter  than  anything  that  she  had  ever  produced. 
You  could  not  sit  by  her  side,  listening  to  the  low,  slow 
outflow  of  her  thought,  without  longing  that  she  might 
yet  find  the  condition  which  would  enable  her  to  give 
it  a  fuller  and  finer  expression  than  had  ever  yet 
been  possible.  You  could  not  feel  day  by  day  the 
blended  strength,  generosity,  charity,  and  tenderness 
of  the  living  woman,  without  longing  that  a  soul  so 
complete  might  yet  make  an  impression  on  the  nation 
to  which  it  was  born,  that  could  never  fade  away. 
Her  most  powerful  trait,  the  one  which  seemed  the 
basis  of  her  entire  character,  was  her  passion  for  justice, 
for  in  its  intensity  it  rose  to  the  height  of  a  passion. 
Her  utmost  capacity  for  hate  went  out  toward  every 
form  of  oppression.  If  she  ever  seemed  overwrought, 
it  was  for  some  wrong  inflicted  on  somebody,  very 
rarely  on  herself.  She  wanted  everything,  the  mean- 
est little  bug  at  her  feet,  to  have  its  chance,  all  the 
chance  of  its  little  life.  That  this  so  seldom  could  be, 
in  this  distorted  world,  was  the  abiding  grief  of  her 
life.  Early  she  ceased  to  suffer  chiefly  for  herself; 
but  to  her  latest  breath  she  suffered  for  the  sorrows  of 


74  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

others.  Phoebe  truly  said  :  "  Constituted  as  she  was, 
it  was  not  possible  for  her  to  help  taking  upon  herself 
not  only  all  the  sorrows  of  her  friends,  but  in  some 
sense  the  tribulation  and  anguish  that  cometh  upon 
every  son  and  daughter  of  Adam.  She  was  even  unto 
the  end  planning  great  projects  for  the  benefit  of  suffer- 
ing humanity,  and  working  with  her  might  to  be  help- 
ful to  those  near  her  ;  and  when  it  seemed  impossible 
that  one  suffering  herself  such  manifold  afflictions  could 
think  even  of  the  needs  of  others." 

It  was  this  measureless  capacity  to  know  and  feel 
everything  that  concerns  human  nature,  this  pity  for 
all,  this  longing  for  justice  and  mercy  to  the  lowest  and 
the  meanest  thing  that  could  breathe  and  suffer  —  this 
largeness  lifting  her  above  all  littleness  —  this  univer- 
sality of  soul,  which  made  her  in  herself  great  as  she 
was  tender.  Such  a  soul  could  not  fail  to  feel,  with 
deepest  intensity,  every  sorrow  and  wrong  inflicted 
upon  her  own  sex.  She  loved  women  with  a  fullness 
of  sympathy  and  tenderness  never  surpassed.  She  felt 
pity  for  their  infirmities,  and  pride  in  their  successes, 
feeling  each  to  be  in  part  her  own.  Believing  that  in 
wifehood,  motherhood,  and  home,  woman  found  her 
surest  and  holiest  estate,  all  the  more  for  this  belief, 
her  whole  being  rebelled  against  the  caste  in  sex,  which 
would  prescribe  the  development  of  any  individual  soul, 
which  would  lay  a  single  obstacle  in  the  way  of  a  toiling 
and  aspiring  human  being,  which  would  degrade  her 
place  in  the  human  race,  because,  with  all  her  aspira- 
tion, toil,  and  suffering,  she  wore  the  form  of  woman. 
Every  effort  having  for  its  object  the  help,  advancement, 
and  full  enfranchisement  of  woman  from  every  form  of 
injustice,  in  Church,  State,  education,  or  at  home,  had 


MRS.  CROLY'S  LETTER.  75 

her  completest  sympathy  and  cooperation.  Yet  she 
said  :  "  I  must  work  in  my  own  way,  and  that  is  a  very 
quiet  one.  My  health,  habits,  and  temperament  make 
it  impossible  that  I  should  mix  in  crowds,  or  act  with 
great  organizations.  I  must  say  my  little  say,  and  do 
my  little  do,  at  home  !  "  These  words  add  interest  to 
the  fact  that  Alice  Cary  was  the  first  President  of  the 
first  Woman's  Club  (now  called  Sorosis)  formed  in 
New  York.  The  entire  history  of  her  relation  with  it 
is  given  in  a  private  letter  from  Mrs.  Jenny  C.  Croly, 
written  since  the  death  of  Alice  and  Phoebe.  As  a 
testimonial  of  affection  to  them  from  a  woman  whom 
both  sisters  honored  and  loved,  and  as  the  history  of 
how  Alice  Cary  became  President  of  a  Woman's  Club, 
which  no  other  person  could  write,  I  take  the  liberty 
of  quoting  from  this  letter. 

Mrs.  Croly  says :  "  Alice  particularly  I  loved,  and 
thank  God  for  ever  having  known ;  she  was  so  large 
and  all-embracing  in  her  kindliness  and  charity,  that 
her  place  must  remain  vacant  j  few  women  exist  who 
could  fill  it. 

"  Much  as  those  of  us  who  knew  the  sisters  thought 
we  loved  them,  few  realized  the  gap  it  would  make  in 
our  lives  when  they  were  gone.  Their  loyalty,  their 
truth,  their  steadfastness,  their  genial  hospitality,  their 
warmth  of  friendship,  their  devotion  to  each  other, — 
the  beautiful  utterances  of  their  quiet,  patient,  yet  in 
some  respects,  suffering  lives,  which  found  their  way 
to  the  world,  all  belonged  to  them,  and  seem  almost 
to  have  died  with  them. 

"  It  breaks  my  heart  to  remember  how  hard  Phoebe 
tried  to  be  'brave'  after  Alice's  death,  as  she  thought 
her  sister  would   wish   to   have  her ;  how  she  opened 


76  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

the  windows  to  let  in  the  sunlight,  filled  her  room 
with  flowers,  refused  to  put  on  mourning,  because 
Alice  had  requested  her  not  to  do  so,  and  tried  to  in- 
terest herself  in  general  schemes  and  plans  for  the 
advancement  of  women.  But  it  was  all  of  no  use. 
She  simply  could  not  live  after  Alice  was  gone.  '  I 
do  not  know  what  is  the  matter  with  me,'  she  said 
to  me  on  one  occasion ;  '  I  have  lain  down,  and  it 
seems,  because  Alice  is  not  there,  there  is  no  reason 
why  I  should  get  up.  For  thirty  years  I  have  gone 
straight  to  her  bedside  as  soon  as  I  arose  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  wherever  she  is,  I  am  sure  she  wants  me  now.' 
Could  one  think  of  these  words  without  tears  ? 

"  In  addition  to  the  love  I  felt  for  them,  I  am  proud 
of  these  two  women,  as  women  whose  isolated  lives 
were  so  simple  and  so  pure,  who  gave  back  tenderness 
and  devotion  and  loving  charity,  for  the  slights  which 
society  deals  even  to  gifted,  if  lonely  womanhood. 
Some  mistaken  impressions  have  been  obtained  in 
regard  to  Alice  Cary,  in  consequence  of  the  sudden 
termination  of  her  alliance  with  'Sorosis.'  For  her 
connection  with  the  society  at  all,  I  alone  am  respon- 
sible. Some  sort  of  organization  among  women  was 
my  hobby,  and  I  had  discussed  it  with  her  often  at  her 
Sunday  evening  receptions.  She  had  sympathized, 
but  always  refused  to  take  any  active  part  on  account 
of  her  ill  health.  When  the  society  was  actually  formed, 
therefore,  I  applied  first  to  Mrs.  Parton  to  become  its 
President,  a  post  which  she  at  first  accepted,  and  after- 
wards refused  for  a  personal  reason.  Desirous  of 
having  a  literary  club,  with  the  name  of  a  distinguished 
literary  woman,  I  begged  Alice  Cary  to  accept  the 
position.     She  found  it  difficult  to  refuse  my  urgent 


ALICE  AT  THE    WOMAN'S'  CLUB.  77 

entreaties,  but  did  so,  until  I  rose  in  great  agitation, 
saying,  '  Alice  Cary,  think  what  faith,  reverence,  and 
affection  thousands  of  women  have  given  to  you,  and 
you  will  not  even  give  to  them  your  name.'  I  left  the 
house  hastily,  and  went  back  to  my  office,  concealing 
hot  tears  of  grief  and  disappointment  behind  my  veil. 
A  moment  after  I  arrived  there,  to  my  astonishment 
she  came  in,  sank  down  in  a  chair,  breathless  with  her 
haste,  and  said,  '  If  my  name  is  worth  anything  to 
woman,  I  have  come  to  tell  you  to  take  it.'  For 
answer  I  knelt  down  at  her  feet,  and  kissed  her  hand 
over  and  over  again.  Dear  Alice  Cary  !  only  the  argu- 
ment that  she  was  withholding  something  she  could 
give  had  any  weight  with  her." 

Alice  took  her  seat  as  President  of  the  Woman's 
Club,  but  from  ill  health  and  an  instinctive  disinclina- 
tion personally  to  fill  any  place  publicly,  she  very  soon 
resigned.  Nevertheless,  though  at  times  she  differed 
from  special  methods  adopted  by  its  members,  the 
Woman's  Club  (Sorosis),  in  its  original  intent,  and  in 
its  possibilities  as  a  source  of  mutual  culture  and 
help  to  women,  always  had  her  sympathy  to  her 
dying  day.  Her  address  on  taking  the  chair  of  the 
Woman's  Club,  unique  and  entirely  characteristic, 
I  give  as  the  first  and  last  speech  ever  made  by  Alice 
Cary  on  a  public  occasion.  Yet  this  public  occasion 
of  hers  was  a  most  genial  and  gracious  one.  In  the 
sumptuous  parlor  of  Delmonico's,  in  an  easy  chair, 
sat  Alice  Cary,  surrounded  by  a  party  of  ladies, 
while  she  read  to  them  in  Iut  low,  forceful  t 
the  words  of  her  address.  Not  an  ungraceful  or 
unfeminine  tiling  was  this  to  do,  even  the  most  preju- 
diced must  acknowledge.      "  J   believe  in  it,"  she  said 


78  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

afterwards,  "  especially  for  any  one  who  works  best  in 
concert  with  others,  and  to  whom  the  attrition  and 
stimulus  of  contact  with  other  minds  is  necessary. 
To  many  women  such  a  weekly  convocation  will  be  of 
the  highest  advantage,  but  so  far  as  I  personally  am 
concerned,  I  enjoy  better  sitting  up-stairs,  chatting 
with  a  friend,  while  I  trim  a  cap  for  Aunt  Lamson." 
But  here  is  the  speech :  — 

Ladies,  —  As  it  will  not  be  expected  of  me  to  make 
speeches  very  often,  hereafter,  I  think  I  may  presume 
on  your  indulgence,  if  I  take  advantage  of  this  one 
opportunity.  Permit  me,  then,  in  the  first  place,  to 
thank  you  for  the  honor  you  have  done  me  in  assign- 
ing to  me  the  President's  chair.  Why  I  should  have 
been  chosen,  when  there  are  so  many  among  you 
greatly  more  competent  to  fill  the  position,  I  am  at  a 
loss  to  understand ;  unless,  indeed,  it  be  owing  to  the 
fact  that  I  am  to  most  of  you  a  stranger,  and  your 
imaginations  have  clothed  me  with  qualities  not  my 
due.  This  you  would  soon  discover  for  yourselves ; 
I  mention  it  only  to  bespeak  your  forbearance,  though 
in  this  regard,  I  ventured  almost  to  anticipate  your 
lenity,  inasmuch  as  you  all  know  how  untrained  to 
business  habits,  how  ignorant  of  rules,  and  how  unused 
to  executive  management  most  women  are. 

If  I  take  my  seat,  therefore,  without  confidence,  it  is 
not  without  the  hope  of  attaining,  through  your  gener- 
ous kindness  and  encouragement,  to  better  things. 
"  A  Woman's  Club  !  Who  ever  heard  of  the  like ! 
What  do  women  want  of  a  Club  ?  Have  you  any  aims 
or  objects  ?  "  These  are  questions  which  have  been 
propounded  to  me  day  after   clay,  since  this  project 


HER   ADDRESS.  79 

was  set  afoot  —  by  gentlemen,  of  course.  And  I  have 
answered,  that,  in  our  humble  way,  we  were  striving  to 
imitate  their  example.  You  have  your  exclusive  clubs, 
I  have  said,  and  why  should  not  we  have  ours  ?  What 
is  so  promotive  of  your  interests  cannot  be  detrimental 
to  us  j  and  that  you  find  these  reunions  helpful  to 
yourselves,  and  beneficial  to  society,  we  cannot  doubt. 

You,  gentlemen,  profess  to  be  our  representatives,  to 
represent  us  better  than  we  could  possibly  represent 
ourselves  ;  therefore,  we  argue,  it  cannot  be  that  you  are 
attracted  by  grand  rooms,  fine  furniture,  luxurious  din- 
ners and  suppers,  expensive  wines  and  cigars,  the 
bandying  of  poor  jests,  or  the  excitement  of  the  gam- 
ing table.  Such  dishonoring  suspicions  as  these  are 
not  to  be  entertained  for  a  moment. 

Of  our  own  knowledge,  I  have  said,  we  are  not  able 
to  determine  what  special  agencies  you  employ  for  your 
advantage  and  ours,  in  your  deliberative  assemblies, 
for  it  has  not  been  thought  best  for  our  interests  that 
we  should  even  sit  at  your  tables,  much  less  to  share 
your  councils ;  and  doubtless,  therefore,  in  our  blind- 
ness and  'gnorance,  we  have  made  some  pitiful  mis- 
takes. 

In  the  first  place,  we  have  "  tipped  the  tea-pot." 
This  is  -<■  hard  saying,  the  head  and  front  of  the 
charges  brought  against  us,  and  we  cannot  but 
acknowledge  its  justice  and  its  force  ;  we  are,  in  fact, 
weighed  down  with  shame  and  humiliation,  and 
impelled,  while  we  are  about  it,  to  make  full  and  free 
confession  of  all  our  wild  and  guilty  fantasies.  We 
have,  then,  to  begin  at  the  beginning,  proposed  the 
inculcation  of  deeper  and  broader  ideas  among  women, 
proposed  to  teach  them   to   think   for   themselves,  and 


80  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

get  their  opinions  at  first  hac.d,  not  so  much  because 
it  is  their  right,  as  because  it  is  their  duty.  We  have 
also  proposed  to  open  out  new  avenues  of  employment 
to  women,  to  make  them  less  dependent  and  less  bur- 
densome, to  lift  them  out  of  unwomanly  self-distrust 
and  disqualifying  diffidence,  into  womanly  self-respect 
and  self-knowledge ;  to  teach  each  one  to  make  all 
work  honorable  by  doing  the  share  that  falls  to  her,  or 
that  she  may  work  out  to  herself  agreeably  to  her  own 
special  aptitude,  cheerfully  and  faithfully,  not  going 
down  to  it,  but  bringing  it  up  to  her.  We  have  pro- 
posed to  enter  our  protest  against  all  idle  gossip, 
against  all  demoralizing  and  vvicked  waste  of  time  ; 
also  against  the  follies  and  tyrannies  of  fashion,  against 
all  external  impositions  and  disabilities  ;  in  short, 
against  each  and  every  thing  that  opposes  the  full 
development  and  use  of  the  faculties  conferred  upon 
us  by  our  Creator. 

We  have  proposed  to  lessen  the  antagonisms  exist- 
ing at  present  between  men  and  women,  by  the  use  of 
every  rightful  means  in  our  power ;  by  standing  upon 
our  divine  warranty,  and  saying  and  doing  what  we  are 
able  to  say  and  to  do,  without  asking  leave,  md  with- 
out suffering  hindrance  :  not  for  the  excltt  ve  good 
of  our  own  sex,  for  we  hold  that  there  is  no  t-xclusive, 
and  no  separate  good ;  what  injures  my  brother  injures 
me,  and  what  injures  me  injures  him,  if  he  could  but 
be  made  to  know  it;  it  injures  him,  whether  or  not  he 
is  made  to  know  it.  Such,  I  have  said,  are  some  of 
our  objects  and  aims.  We  do  not  pretend,  as  yet,  to 
have  carefully  digested  plans  and  clearly  defined 
courses.  We  are  as  children  feeling  our  way  in  the 
dark,  for  it  must  be  remembered  that  it  is  not  yet  half 


HER  ADDRESS.  3i 

a  century  since  the  free  schools,  even  in  the  most 
enlightened  portions  of  our  country,  were  first  opened 
to  girls.  How,  then,  should  you  expect  of  us  the  full- 
ness of  wisdom  which  you  for  whole  centuries  have 
been  gathering  from  schools,  colleges,  and  the  exclu- 
sive knowledge  and  management  of  affairs  ! 

We  admit  our  short-comings,  but  we  do  feel,  gentle- 
men, that  in  spite  of  them,  an  honest,  earnest,  and 
unostentatious  effort  toward  broader  culture  and  nobler 
life  is  entitled  to  a  heartier  and  more  sympathetic  rec- 
ognition than  we  have  as  yet  received  from  you  any- 
where ;  even  our  representatives  here  at  home,  the 
leaders  of  the  New  York  press,  have  failed  irr  that 
magnanimity  which  we  have  been  accustomed  to 
attribute  to  them. 

If  we  could  have  foreseen  the  sneers  and  sarcasms 
with  which  we  have  been  met,  they  of  themselves  would 
have  constituted  all-sufficient  reasons  for  the  establish- 
ment of  this  Woman's  Club  j  as  it  is,  they  have  estab 
lished  a  strong  impulse  towards  its  continuance  and 
final  perpetuity.  But,  ladies,  these  sneers  and  sarcasms 
are,  after  all,  but  so  many  acknowledgements  of  our 
power,  and  should  and  will  stimulate  us  to  braver 
assertion,  to  more  persistent  effort  toward  thoi 
and  harmonious  organization  ;  and  concert  and  har- 
mony are  all  that  we  need  to  make  this  enterprise, 
ultimately,  a  great  power  for  good.  Indeed,  with  such 
women  as  have  already  enrolled  their  names  on  our 
list,  I,  for  my  part,  cannot  believe  failure  possible. 

Some  of  us  cannot  hope  I  it  results,  for  our 

.ire    already   on    the    downhill    side   of    life;    the 

shadows  arc   lengthening   behind   us    and   gath 

before  n  .  and  I  re  long   they  will   meet    and  close,  and 
6 


82  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

the  places  that  have  known  us,  know  us  no  more.  But 
if,  when  our  poor  work  is  done,  any  of  those  who  come 
after  us  shall  find  in  it  some  hint  of  usefulness  toward 
nobler  lives,  and  better  and  more  enduring  work,  we, 
for  ourselves,  rest  content. 

The  love,  sympathy,  and  pity  which  Alice  felt  for  the 
whole  human  race,  she  lavished  with  concentrated 
power  on  those  near  to  her,  the  members  of  her  own 
family,  and  all  who  had  been  drawn  into  the  inner  cir- 
cle of  her  personal  life.  She  had  not  a  relative  who 
did  not  share  her  solicitude  and  care.  Of  her  young 
nieces,  the  daughters  of  Rowena  and  Susan  Cary,  she 
was  especially  fond.  The  house  on  Twentieth  Street 
was  often  graced  and  brightened  by  their  presence, 
and  one,  "  little  Alice,"  grew  up  almost  as  an  own 
daughter  in  her  home,  giving  in  return,  to  both  her 
aunts  to  their  latest  hour,  a  filial  devotion  and  tender- 
ness which  the  most  loving  daughter  never  surpassed. 

No  child  ever  called  her  mother,  yet  to  the  end  of 
life  the  heart  of  motherhood  beat  strong  within  her 
breast.  Her  love  for  children  never  grew  faint.  She 
was  especially  fond  of  little  girls,  and  was  wont  to  send 
for  her  little  friends  to  come  and  spend  a  day  with  her. 
This  was  a  high  privilege,  but  any  little  girl  that  came 
was  at  once  put  at  her  ease,  and  felt  perfectly  at  home. 
She  took  the  individuality  of  each  child  into  her  heart, 
and  reproduced  it  in  her  intercourse  with  it,  and  in  her 
songs  and  stories. 

Her  little  girl  visitors  were  sometimes  silent  ones. 
Going  into  her  room  one  day,  there  was  a  row  of  pho- 
tographs, all  little  girls,  arranged  before  her  on  her 
desk. 


ALICE'S  LOVE   OF  CHILDREN.  83 

"  Whose  little  girls  ?  "  was  the  eager  question. 

"Mine!"  was  the  answer,  breaking  into  a  laugh. 
•'•  They  are  all  Alice  Carys ;  take  your  choice.  The 
only  trouble  they  make  me  is,  I  can't  possibly  get  time 
to  write  to  them  all,  though  I  do  try  to,  to  the  babies' 
mothers."  All  had  been  sent  by  strangers,  fathers 
and  mothers,  photographs  of  the  children  named 
"Alice  Cary." 

It  is  this  real  love  for  children,  as  children,  which 
has  given  to  both  Alice  and  Phcebe  Cary's  books  for 
little  folks,  such  genuine  and  abiding  popularity. 

No  more  touching  proof  could  be  given  o(  Alice 
Cary's  passionate  sympathy  with  child  nature,  than  her 
never-waning  love  for  her  own  little  sister  Lucy. 
Though  but  three  years  old  when  she  passed  away, 
the  impress  of  her  child-soul  was  as  vivid  and  powerful 
in  her  sister's  heart  after  the  lapse  of  thirty  changeful 
years,  as  on  the  day  that  she  died.  It  was  more  than 
sister  mourning  for  sister,  it  was  the  woman  yearning 
for  the  child  whose  vacant  place  in  her  life  no  other 
child  had  ever  filled.  The  following  lines,  more  than 
Wordsworthian  in  their  bare  simplicity,  are  an  unfeigned 
utterance  of  her  deepest  heart. 

MY   LITTLE   ONE. 

At  busy  morn  —  at  quiet  noon  — 

At  evening  sad  and  still, 
As  wayward  as  the  lawless  mist 

That  wanders  where  it  will, 

She  comes  — my  little  one. 

I  cannot  have  a  dream  so  wrought 
Of  nothings,  nor  so  wild 


84  ALICE  AXD  PHCEBE   CARV. 

With  fantasies,  but  she  is  there, 
My  heavenly-human  child  — 
My  glad,  gay  little  one. 

She  never  spake  a  single  word 

Of  wisdom,  I  agree  ; 
I  loved  her  not  for  what  she  was, 

But  what  she  was  to  me  — 

My  precious  little  one. 

You  might  not  call  her  beautiful, 
N I  r  haply  was  she  so  ; 

I  loved  her  for  the  loveliness 
That  I  alone  could  know  — 
My  sweet-souled  little  one. 

I  say  I  loved,  but  that  is  wrong ; 

As  if  the  love  could  change 
Because  my  dove  hath  got  her  wings, 

And  taken  wider  range  ! 

Forgive,  my  little  one. 

I  still  can  see  her  shining  curls 

All  tremulously  fair, 
Like  fifty  yellow  butterflies 

A-fluttering  in  the  air : 

My  angel  little  one. 

I  see  her  tender  mouth,  her  eyes, 
Her  garment  softly  bright, 

Like  some  fair  cloud  about  the  morn 
With  roses  all  a-light : 
My  deathless  little  one. 


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86  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE    CARY. 

sion.  Thus,  amid  their  large  circle  of  friends,  very 
few  letters  remain,  and  nearly  all  of  these  are  of  too 
personal  a  character  to  admit  of  extracts.  Alice  never 
wrote  a  letter  save  on  business,  or  to  a  person  whom 
she  loved.  These  letters  were  written  in  snatches  of 
time  between  her  tasks  at  early  morning,  or  in  the 
evening.  She  had  no  leisure  to  discuss  art,  or  new 
books,  seldom  current  events.  The  letter  was  always 
a  direct  message  from  her  heart  to  her  friend.  In 
nothing,  save  in  her  self-denial  for  their  sakes,  did  she 
manifest  her  brooding  tenderness  and  care  for  those 
she  loved,  more  than  in  her  personal  letters. 

The  following  extracts  from  private  letters  to  one 
person,  give  an  example  of  the  letter-writing  style 
which  she  held  in  such  low  esteem,  and  show  what 
were  the  direct  utterances  of  Alice  Cary's  heart  in 
private  to  a  friend.  As  the  expression  of  herself  in  a 
form  of  which  so  little  remains,  they  are  full  of  in- 
terest. 

The  first  is  dated  September  3,  1866:  — 

"  I  have  not  forgotten  you,  though  you  might  think 
so.  The  truth  is,  in  the  first  place,  my  letters  are  very 
poor  affairs,  and  in  the  next,  I  know  it.  So  you  see  I 
do  not  like  to  essay  my  poor  powers  in  that  direction, 
unless  for  a  special  reason,  and  such  an  one  is  my  lovo 
for  you.  I  think  of  you  daily,  indeed  hourly,  and  wish 
you  were  only  back  among  us.  Can't  you  come  for 
a  little  while  this  winter  ?  .  .  .  .  Go  on !  We  need 
all  the  strong  words  for  the  right  that  can  be  uttered 
We  never  needed  them  more,  it  seems  to  me.  I  am 
afraid  you  are  lonesome.  I  know  how  lonesome  I 
used  to  be  in  the  country  and  alone.     Alone,  I  mean; 


ALICE'S  LETTERS  87 

so  far  as  the  society  to  which  one  belongs  is  con- 
cerned. For  we  all  need  something  outside  of  our- 
selves and  our  immediate  family.  I  don't  care  how 
much  they  may  be  to  us,  we  require  it  both  for  mind 
and  body. 

"  I  am  here  in  my  own  room,  just  where  you  left  me. 
How  I  wish  you  could  come  in.  Wouldn't  we  talk? 
I  see  all  our  old  friends,  but  I  do  so  wish  for  you. 

"  I  am  very  busy,  never  so  busy  in  my  life,  but 
whether  to  good  purpose  or  not,  I  cannot  say.  Did 
you  read  my  story  in  the  July  and  August  numbers  of 
the  '  Atlantic,'  '  The  Great  Doctor  '  ?  , 

"  My  poems  are  expected  out  this  fall,  but  not  in  a 
shape  to  please  me  ;  the  cuts  are  dreadfully  done ;  they 
look  like  frights.  So  things  go,  nothing  quite  as  we 
would  have  it  in  this  world  ;  let  us  hope  we  are  nearing 
a  better  country.  I  could  tell  you  a  thousand  things, 
but  how  can  I  write  them  ? 

u  You  have  seen  that  poor  Mrs. has  passed  from 

among  us  ?  Her  poor  little  struggle  of  a  life  is  ended. 
I  trust  she  has  found  one  more  satisfactory.  My 
struggle  still  goes  on.  I  am  writing  stories  and 
verses  —  I  can't  say  poems. 

"  Write  me,  my  dear,  just  from  your  heart." 

The  next  letter  bears  the  date  of  September  17, 
1866:  — 

"  My  dear,  I've  taken  time  by  the  forelock,  as  they 
say.     I  am  up  before  the  sun. 

"We  had  an  interesting  company  last  evening,  among 
them  Mr.  Greeley.  Mr.  Beecfaer,  and  Robert  Dale 
Owen.     I  thought  of  you,  and  wished  you  here.     I  am 


58  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

glad  you  are  at  work  again  ;  you  must  work,  you  have 
every  encouragement.  A  word  about  my  story.  I 
had  no  design  to  write  a  word  against  the  Methodists. 
I  believe  them  to  be  just  as  good'  as  any  other  people. 
But  I  had  to  put  my  characters  in  some  Church,  and 
as  I  lived  among  Methodists  in  my  youth,  I  know 
much  about  their  ways.  But  I  have  a  good  Method- 
ist preacher  to  set  against  my  poor  one,  as  will  appear 
in  due  time.  I  would  not  do  so  foolish  or  mean  a 
thing  as  to  attempt  to  write  down,  or  to  write  up,  any 
denomination.  There  is  good  in  all ;  but  human 
nature  is  human  nature  everywhere. 

"  Thank  you  for  your  kind  offer  about  my  poems.  I 
shall  certainly  remember  your  goodness.  I  do  want 
the  book  to  get  before  the  public,  and  not  be  left  to 
die  in  its  cradle.  I  can  say  this  much  for  it,  It  is  mine. 
It  is  what  I  have  thought,  what  I  have  seen,  lived,  and 
felt  myself,  not  through  books,  or  through  other  per- 
sons. I  have  taken  the  wild  woods,  corn  fields,  school- 
houses,  rustic  boys  and  girls,  whatever  I  know  best  that 
has  helped  to  make  me ;  and  however  poor,  there  is  the 
result. 

"  I  must  see  you  somehow  this  winter,  and  your  dear 
friend  Mrs. ,  whom  I  love  without  having  seen. 

"  There  is  breakfast !  God  bless  you,  and  for  a  little 
while,  good-by." 

Another  letter  is  dated  October  21,  1866  :  — 

.  ..."  I  am  afraid  you  are  sick  or  very  sad,  or  I  air 
sure  I  should  have  heard  from  you.  I  think  of  you  so 
much,  and  always  with  tearful  tenderness,  for  our  souls 
are  kindred.     I   am  more  than  half  sick.     My  cough, 


ALICE'S  LETTERS.  89 

since  the  weather  has  changed,  is  very  troublesome,  so 
that  I  cannot  sleep  nights,  which  is  dreadful,  you  know. 

"  Won't  you  write  and  tell  me  all  about  yourself? 
Somehow  I  feel  worried  rbout  you,  as  if  there  were 
shadows  all  around  you. 

"  The  house  was  full  of  pleasant  company  last  night, 
but  I  was  too  sick  to  share  it. 

"  I  have  managed  with  Carleton  about  my  books. 
He  has  been  very  generous  to  me.  I  like  him,  and 
you  will.  I  am  busy  trying  to  do  rnucn"  more  than  I 
ought,  but  I  seem  to  be  driven  by  a  demon  to  that  end, 
and  to  what  purpose !  Who  cares  for  my  poor  little 
work,  when  it  is  all  done  !  What  doth  it  profit  under 
the  sun  !  I  am  sad  to-day,  very  sad,  and  I  ought  to  go 
to  you  only  with  sunshine.  I  have  just  finished  a  long, 
lonely  ballad.  I  wish  I  could  read  it  to  you.  More 
than  that,  I  wish.  I  could  walk  with  you  in  the  sunshine, 
out  among  the  falling  leaves,  and  say  just  what  comes 
into  my  heart  to  say.  But  you  are  there,  and  I  am 
here,  *  and  the  harbor  bar  keeps  nearing.'  " 

The  following  is  from  a  letter  written  a  year  later, 
January,  1867  :  — 

"  Here  am  I  again,  in  my  corner,  thinking  of  you 
and  of  many  things  of  which  we  did  not  talk  much.  I 
felt  a  little  hurt,  at  first,  that  I  did  not  see  you  more, 
but  I  do  not  now.  I  know  that  it  was  just  as  you  say. 
Never   mind,  I   half  think   I    will   come    again,   1   did 

enjoy  the  week  in  so   much.      I   want    to    begin 

just    where     I    left  off.      Dear    Mis.  ,    she    did    BO 

much  for  our  comfort  and  pleasure.  How  I  hope  to 
do   something   for   her  sometime.      And  Mr.  tOOj 


po  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CAkY. 

how  1  like  him.  It  always  did  me  good  to  see  his 
bright  face  come  in  ;  his  very  voice  gave  me  confidence 
and  —  what  word  shall  I  use  ?  I  don't  know,  I  only 
know  it  always  helped  me  to  see  him. 

"  I've  been  working  on  a  little  book  of  poems,  or  a 
proposed  book,  rather,  all  day  at  my  desk.  It  is  now 
nearly  night,  and  I  am  tired,  but  I  got  on  pretty  well ; 
that's  some  comfort. 

"  I  have  not  been  well  since  my  return,  and  the 
immense  appefite  I  had  in ,  I  left  'here." 

The  following  bears  a  still  later  date :  — 

.  .  .  .  "  Thank  you  most  kindly  for  your  letter.  If 
I  had  only  received  it  earlier,  I  might  have  gone  with 

my  friends  to  ,  but    they  had    already  left,   and 

anyway  it  would  not  have  been  easy  to  leave,  for  the 
house  is  full  of  visitors.  I  would  like  to  be  with  you 
these  times,  but  you  can't  imagine  how  busy  I  am, 
and  have  to  be,  to  keep  things  going.  I  have  been 
pretty  well  all  winter,  or  I  don't  know  how  I  should 
have  got  along.  I  have  done  a  great  deal  of  work, 
such  as  it  is.  Tell  me  what  you  propose  to  do,  and 
all  about  yourself.  First  of  all,  I  hope  you  are  well ; 
that  is  the  great  thing.  We  have  had  very  pleasant 
times  this  winter  ;  I  have  so  much  wished  you  here  to 
help  us.  I  have  seen  a  good  deal  of  Miss  Booth  for 
the  last  few  months,  and  like  her  much  ;  have  seen  Ole 
Bull  at  home  and  elsewhere,  and  like  him,  as  Anna 
Dickinson  would  say,  '  excessively ! '  I  have  seen 
much  also  of  the  McCarthys  of  London.  You  know 
and  like  them  both  ;  so  do  I.  I  do  believe  I  have  writ- 
ten my  whole  letter  about  myself.     Well,  pay  me  back 


ALICE'S  LETTERS.  QI 

in  my  own  coin ;  that  is  all  I  want.  Give  me  some 
of  those  thoughts  which  go  through  your  mind  and 
heart,  when  you  sit  alone  with  your  cheek  in  your 
hand. 

u  Mind,  I  don't  mean  to  say  that  you  have  not  done 
anything  well.  By  no  means.  But  remember,  your  best 
work  you  yet  must  do." 

Another  letter  is  dated  November  24,  1868  :  — 

"  Your  kind  letter  came  duly.  How  I  thank  you  for 
all  your  affectionate  thoughts  of  me  !  I  have  >been 
thinking  and  thinking  I  would  write,  but  it's  the  old 
story,  I  can't  write  anything  worth  the  reading.  If  we 
could  only  see  each  other  !  But  written  words  are  so 
poor  and  empty !  at  any  rate  mine  seem  so,  and  I  have 
not  the  gift  to  make  them  otherwise. 

"  You  have  been  sick  and  sad.  I  am  so  sorry  for 
both,  if  that  could  help  you.  I  am  not  well,  either. 
My  dear  sick  sister  has  been  with  me  for  two   months 

with  L .     '  Little  Alice '  is  here  now.     I  have  had 

transient  visitors  all  the  time,  —  two  calls  for  charity 
since  I  began  this  letter.  So,  my  dear,  you  can  see 
how  some  of  my  time,  and  much  of  my  heart  goes. 
You  can  imagine  I  have  written  very  little,  and  as  for 
reading,  my  mind  is  as  blank  as  an  idol's. 

"I  hope  to  come  to this  winter,  and  that  there 

we  may  see  one  another :  but  can't  you  somehow  come 
to  me,  —  so  that  we  might  steal  an  hour  now  and 
then  ?  I  think  it  would  do  you  good,  I  am  sure  it 
would  me.  I  think  of  you  oftener  than  you  would 
believe.  I  have  not  so  many  friends  that  1  cannot 
Keep  them  all  in    my    heart    all  the  time.      Have  you 


92  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

made  your  new  dress?  What  are  you  doing?  and 
hoping  to  do  ?  Do  write  and  tell  me,  if  you  can  afford 
to  get  in  return  for  good  letters  such  chaff  as  I  send. 

"  It  seems  to  me,  if  I  only  had  your  years,  I  would 
hope  everything  \  but  think  where  I  am  !  So  near  the 
night,  where  no  man  can  work,  nor  woman  either. 

"  Lastly,  my  dear,  let  me  admonish  you  to  stand  more 
strongly  by  your  own  nature.  God  gave  it  to  you.  For 
that  reason  alone  you  should  think  well  of  it,  and 
make  the  most  of  it.  I  say  this  because  I  think  that 
your  tender  conscience  is  a  little  morbid,  as  well  as 
tender.  You  hardly  think  that  you  have  a  right  to 
God's  best  gifts,  to  the  enjoyment  of  the  free  air  and 
sunshine.  Your  little  innocent  delights  you  constantly 
buy  at  a  great  cost.  When  you  have  given  the  loaf, 
you  hardly  think  you  have  a  right  to  the  crust.  One 
part  of  your  nature  is  all  the  time  set  against  the 
other,  and  you  take  the  self-sacrificing  side.  I  know 
through  what  straits  you  are  dragged.  You  could 
not  be  selfish  if  you  would,  and  I  would  not  have  you 
so,  if  I  could.  But  I  do  think  that  you  should  compel 
yourself  to  live  a  higher,  more  expansive,  and  express- 
ive life.  You  are  entitled  to  it.  There  is  a  cloud  all 
the  time  between  you  and  the  sun,  and  even  the  soul- 
less plants  cannot  live  in  the  shade.  I  did  not  intend 
to  write  all  this \  somehow,  it  seemed  to  write  itsel£ 
If  I  have  said  more  than  I  ought,  I  pray  you  pardon 
me. 

"The  day  is  lovely.  I  wish  we  were  in  the  woods 
together,  hearing  the  wind  in  the  dead  leaves,  and 
getting  from  the  quiet  heart  of  our  mother  earth 
some  of  her  tranquil  rest.  Good-by,  my  dear.  May 
the  Lord  send  his  angels  to  abide  with  you." 


SPIRITUALISM.  93 

Many  have  inquired  concerning  her  belief  in  "  Spir- 
itualism." She  was  a  spiritualist  in  the  highest  mean- 
ing of  the  much-abused  term,  as  every  spiritually 
minded  person  must  be  in  some  sense,  and  would  be 
if  no  such  thing  as  professional  Spiritualism  had  ever 
existed.  No  one  can  believe  in  the  New  Testament, 
in  God  himself,  and  not  be  in  this  sense  a  spiritualist. 
One  cannot  have  faith  in  another  and  better  world, 
and  not  feel  often  that  its  border  lies  very  near  to 
this  j  so  near,  indeed,  that  our  lost  ones  who  have 
gone  thither  may  come  back  to  us,  unseen,  unheard, 
to  walk  as  "  ministering  angels  "  by  our  sides.  >This 
is  the  spiritualism  of  Jesus  and  his  disciples,  and  of 
holy  men  and  women  in  all  ages. 

All  Alice  Cary's  spiritual  faith  is  uttered  in  these 
lines :  — 

"  Laugh,  you  who  never  had 
Your  dead  come  back ;  but  do  not  take  from  me 
The  harmless  comfort  of  my  foolish  dream : 

That  these  our  mortal  eyes, 
Which  outwardly  reflect  the  earth  and  skies, 

Do  introvert  upon  eternity  ; 
And  that  the  shapes  you  deem 
Imaginations  just  as  clearly  fall, 
Each  from  its  own  divine  original, 
And  through  some  subtle  element  of  light, 

Upon  the  inward  spiritual  eye, 
As  do  the  things  which  round  about  them  lie, 
Gross  and  material,  on  the  external  sight." 

She  hated  slavery  in  every  form  ;  she  was  capable 
of  a  burning  indignation  against  every  type  of  wrong  ; 
yet  in  her  judgment  of  individuals  she  was    full    of 


94  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

charity  and  sympathy.  I  once  expressed  myself  bit- 
terly toward  a  person  who  had  spoken  of  Alice  most 
unkindly  and  falsely.  "  You  would  not  feel  so,  my 
dear,"  she  said,  "  if  you  knew  how  unhappy  she  is. 
When  I  think  how  very  unhappy  she  must  be  herself, 
to  be  willing  to  injure  one  who  never  harmed  her,  I 
can  only  pity  her." 

This  intense  tenderness,  this  yearning  over  every- 
thing human,  with  a  pity  and  love  inexpressible,  made 
the  very  impulse  and  essence  of  her  being.  Surely,  in 
this  was  she  Christlike.  Our  Saviour  wept  over  Jeru- 
salem. How  many  tears  did  she,  his  disciple,  shed  for 
sorrowing  humanity,  for  suffering  womanhood.  Nor 
were  tears  all  she  gave.  The  deepest  longing  of  her 
life  was  to  see  human  nature  lifted  from  sin  to  holiness, 
from  misery  to  happiness ;  every  thought  that  she 
uttered,  every  deed  she  did,  she  prayed  might  help 
toward  this  end.  To  help  somebody,  no  matter  how 
lowly,  to  comfort  the  afflicted,  to  lift  up  the  fallen,  to 
share  every  blessing  of  her  life  with  others,  to  live 
(even  under  the  stress  of  pain  and  struggle)  a  life 
pure,  large,  in  itself  an  inspiration  —  this,  and  more,  was 
Alice  Cary. 

Filled  with  the  spirit,  and  fulfilling  the  law  of  the 
Master  in  her  daily  life,  is  it  not  intolerant,  little,  and 
even  mean,  now  she  has  passed  away  forever,  to  cast 
on  the  abstract  creed  of  such  a  woman  the  shadow 
of  question,  much  less  of  reproach  ? 

Why  should  her  "  Dying  Hymn  "  be  less  the  hymn  of 
a  dying  saint,  if  she  did  believe  that  the  mercy  of  her 
Heavenly  Father,  and  the  atonement  of  Jesus  Christ, 
would,  in  the  fullness  of  eternity,  redeem  from  sin,  and 
gather  into  everlasting  peace,  the  whole  family  of  man? 


HER    CREED.  95 

Justice  tempered  by  love,  the  supreme  attribute  of  her 
own  nature,  ran  into  her  individual  conception  of  God, 
and  of  his  dealings  with  the  human  race.  Grieving 
over  the  fact  that  ten  thousands  of  her  fellow  creatures 
are  cursed  in  their  very  birth,  born  into  the  world  with 
the  physical  and  spiritual  taint  of  depraved  generations 
entailed  upon  them,  with  neither  the  power  nor  oppor- 
tunity, from  the  cradle  to  the  grave,  to  break  the  chains 
of  poverty  and  vice  and  rise  to  purity :  she  believed 
no  less  that  the  opportunity  would  come  to  every 
human  being,  that  everything  that  God  had  made 
would  have  its  chance  ;  if  not  in  this  existence,  th,en  in 
another.  Without  this  faith,  at  times  human  life  would 
have  been  to  her  intolerable.  It  was  her  soul's  con- 
solation to  say :  — 

"  Nay,  but  'tis  not  the  end  : 
God  were  not  God,  if  such  a  thing  could  be  ; 
If  not  in  time,  then  in  eternity, 
There  must  be  room  for  penitence  to  mend 
Life's  broken  chance,  else  noise  of  wars 
Would  unmake  heaven." 

Phcebe,  in  settling  the  question  of  her  religious  faith, 
said :  — 

"Though  singularly  liberal  and  unsectarian  in  her 
views,  she  always  preserved  a  strong  attachment  to  the 
church  of  her  parents,  and,  in  the  main,  accepted  its 
doctrines.  Caring  little  for  creeds  and  minor  points, 
she  most  firmly  believed  in  human  brotherhood  as 
taught  by  Jesus  j  and  in  a  God  whose  loving  kindness 
is  so  deep  and  so  unchangeable,  that  there  can  □ 
come  a  time  to  even  the  vilest  sinner,  in  all  the  ages  of 
eternity,  when  if  he  arise  and  go  to   Him,  his    Fathei 


96  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

will  not  see  him  afar  off,  and  have  compassion  upcn 
him.  In  this  faith,  which  she  has  so  often  sung,  she 
lived  and  wrought  and  hoped ;  and  in  this  faith, 
which  grew  stronger,  deeper,  and  more  assured  with 
years  of  sorrow  and  trial  and  sickness,  she  passed 
from  death  unto  life." 

The  friends  who  shared  so  long  the  hospitality  of 
her  home,  as  they  turn  their  eyes  toward  the  closed 
doors  of  that  home,  finally  bereft,  well  as  they  knew 
her  and  truly  as  they  loved  her,  cannot  dream  of  half 
the  plans  for  their  happiness  and  comfort  that  went  oat 
when  that  faithful  heart  ceased  to  beat.  Nor  was  it  of 
her  friends  only  whom  she  thought.  Long  after  suffer- 
ing had  separated  her  forever  from  the  active  world,  she 
took  just  as  keen  an  interest  in  its  great  affairs  as  if 
still  participating  in  them.  Even  when  the  shadows 
of  eternity  were  stealing  over  her,  nothing  that  con- 
cerns this  mortal  life  seemed  to  her  paltry  or  unim- 
portant. She  wanted  all  her  friends  to  come  into  her 
room  and  tell  her  everything  about  the  life  from  which 
she  was  shut  out.  She  took  the  deepest  interest  in 
everything  human,  from  the  grandest  affair  of  state  to 
"  poor  old  Mrs.  Brown's  last  cap,"  which  she  persisted 
in  making  when  so  feeble  that  she  could  scarcely  draw 
her  needle  through  its  lace.  Yet  this  interest  in  human 
affairs  did  not  shut  from  her  gaze  the  things  "  unseen 
and  eternal."  She  said  to  me  one  morning,  after  a 
night  of  suffering,  "  While  you  are  all  asleep,  I  lie  here 
and  think  on  the  deep  things  of  eternity,  of  the 
unknown  life.  I  find  I  must  leave  it  still  with  God, 
and  trust  Him  !  " 

One  of  the  last  things  she  said  to  me  was,  "  If  you 
could  see  all  the  flowers  brought  into  this  room  by 


LAST   WORDS.  97 

friends  piled  up,  it  seems  to  me  they  would  reach  to 
heaven.  I  am  certainly  going  toward  it  on  flowery 
beds,  if  not  beds  of  ease." 

And  her  last  words  to  me,  with  a  radiant  smile, 
were,  "  When  you  come  back,  you  will  find  me  so  much 
better  I  shall  come  and  stay  with  you  a  week.  So  we 
won  t  say  good-by."  Thus  in  one  sense  we  never 
parted.  Yet  my  only  regret  in  thinking  of  her,  is  that 
life  with  its  relentless  obligations  withheld  me  from  her 
in  her  very  last  days.  It  is  one  of  those  unavailing 
regrets  on  which  death  has  set  his  seal,  and  to  which 
time  can  bring  no  reparation.  \ 

For  her  sake  let  me  say  what,  as  a  woman,  she  could 
be,  and  was,  to  another.  She  found  me  with  habits  of 
thought  and  of  action  unformed,  and  with  nearly  all  the 
life  of  womanhood  before  me.  She  taught  me  self  help, 
courage,  and  faith.  She  showed  me  how  I  might  help 
myself  and  help  others.  Wherever  I  went,  I  carried 
with  me  her  love  as  a  treasure  and  a  staff.  How  many 
times  I  leaned  upon  it  and  grew  strong.  It  never  fell 
from  me.  It  never  failed  me.  No  matter  how  life 
might  serve  me,  I  believed  without  a  doubt  that  her 
friendship  would  never  fail  me;  and  it  never  did.  If 
I  faltered,  she  would  believe  in  me  no  less.  If  I  fell, 
her  hand  would  be  the  first  outstretched  to  lift  me  up. 
All  the  world  might  forsake  me  ;  yet  would  not  she. 
I  might  become  an  outcast  ;  yet  no  less  would  I  find  in 
her  a  shelter  and  a  friend.  Vet,  saving  this,  I  have 
not  said,  and  have  no  power  to  say,  wh.it  as  a  soul  I 
owe  to  h 

These  autumn  days  sharpen  the  keen  sense  of  irrep- 
arable l<^s.  These  are  the  days  that  she  loved  ;  in 
whose  balsamic  airs  she  basked,  and  renewed  her  life 
7 


98  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

with  ever  fresh  delight.  These  are  the  days  in  which 
she  garnished  her  house  for  new  reunions,  in  which  she 
drew  nearer  to  nature,  nearer  to  her  friends,  nearer  to 
her  God.  October  is  here,  serene  as  of  old  ;  but  she 
is  not.  Her  house  is  inhabited  by  strangers.  Her 
song  is  hushed.  Her  true  heart  is  still.  But  life  — 
the  vast  life  whose  mystery  enthralled  her  —  that 
remorselessly  goes  on.  I  laid  a  flower  on  her  grave 
yesterday ;  so  to-day  I  offer  this  poor  memorial  to  her 
name,  because  I  loved  her. 


, 


ALICE   CARY   THE    WRITER.  99 


CHAPTER  VI. 

ALICE   CARY. — THE    WRITER. 

As  an  artist  in  literature  Alice  Cary  suffered,  as  so 
many  women  in  this  generation  do,  for  lack  of  thorough 
mental  discipline  and  those  reserved  stores  of  knowl- 
edge which  must  be  gathered  and  garnered  in  youth. 
When  the  burden  and  the  heat  of  the  day  came,  when 
she  needed  them  most,  she  had  neither  time  nor 
strength  to  acquire  them.  Her  early  youth  was  spent 
chiefly  in  household  drudgery.  Her  only  chance  for 
study  was  in  dear  snatches  at  books  between  her  tasks, 
and  by  the  kitchen  fire  through  the  long  winter  even- 
ings.    Referring  to  this  period  of  her  life,  she  said  :  — 

"  In  my  memory  there  are  many  long,  dark  years  of 
labor  at  variance  with  my  inclinations,  of  bereavement, 
of  constant  struggle,  and  of  hope  deferred." 

Thus,  when  her  life-work  and  work  for  life  came,  she 
did  it  under  the  most  hampering  disadvantages,  and 
often  amid  bodily  suffering  which  any  ordinary  woman 
would  have  made  a  sufficient  excuse  for  absolute  de- 
pendence upon  others.  Thus  it  was  with  her  as  with  so 
many  of  her  sisters.  So  much  of  woman's  work  is  artist- 
ically poor,  not  from  any  poverty  of  gift,  but  for  lack  of 
that  practical  training  of  the  faculties  which  is  indis- 
pensable to  the  finest  workmanship.  The  pou 
there,  but  not  the  perfect  mastery  of  the  power.     Alices 


IOO  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CAKi. 

natural  endowment  of  mind  and  soul  was  of  the  finest 
and  rarest ;  yet  as  an* artistic  force,  she  used  it  timidly, 
and  at  times  awkwardly.  She  never,  to  her  dying  hour, 
reached  her  own  standard  ;  never,  in  any  form  of  art, 
satisfied  herself. 

About  ten  years  ago  she  wrote  to  a  friend  in  the 
West :  "lam  ashamed  of  my  work.  The  great  bulk 
of  what  I  have  written  is  poor  stuff.  Some  of  it,  maybe, 
indicates  ability  to  do  better  —  that  is  about  all.  I 
think  I  am  more  simple  and  direct,  less  diffuse  and 
encumbered  with  ornament  than  in  former  years,  all, 
probably,  because  I  have  lived  longer  and  thought 
more." 

In  dealing  with  two  forces,  hers  was  the  touch  of 
mastery.  As  an  interpreter  of  the  natural  world  she 
was  unsurpassed.  And  when  she  spoke  from  her  own, 
never  did  she  fail  to  strike  the  key-note  to  the  human 
heart.  Her  absorbing  love  for  nature,  inanimate  and 
human,  her  oneness  with  it,  made  her  what  she  was, 
a  poet  of  the  people.  She  knew  more  of  principles 
than  of  persons,  more  of  nature  than  of  either.  Her 
mind  was  introspective.  Instinctively  she  drew  the 
very  life  of  the  universe  into  her  soul,  and  from  her 
soul  sent  it  forth  into  life  again.  By  her  nothing  in 
nature  is  forgotten  or  passed  by.  "  The  luminous 
creatures  of  the  air,"  the  cunning  workers  of  the  ground, 
"  the  dwarfed  flower,"  and  the  "  drowning  mote,"  each 
shares  something  of  her  great  human  love,  which, 
brooding  over  the  very  ground,  rises  and  merges  into 
all  things  beautiful.  One  can  only  wonder  at  the  rev- 
erent and  observant  faculties,  the  widely  embracing 
heart,  which  makes  so  many  of  God's  loves  its  own. 
The  following  is  a  verse  in  her  truest  vein  :  — 


SPECULA  TIONS.  IOI 

"  O  for  a  single  hour 
To  have  life's  knot  of  evil  and  self-blame 

All  straightened,  all  undone  ! 
As  in  the  time  when  fancy  had  the  power 

The  weariest  and  forlornest  day  to  bless, 
At  sight  of  any  little  common  flower. 

That  warmed  her  pallid  fi?igers  i?i  the  sun , 

And  had  ?io  garment  but  her  loveliness." 

After  having  lived  in  the  city  for  twenty  years,  with 
not  even  a  grassy  plat  of  her  own  on  which  to  rest  her 
feet,  the  country  sights  and  sounds,  which  made  nearly 
thirty  years  of  her  life,  faded  into  pictures  of  the  past. 
In  these  days  "  life's  tangled  knot  of  evil,"  the  phe- 
nomena of  human  existence,  absorbed  chiefly  her  heart 
and  faculties.  Much  of  the  result  of  her  questionings 
and  replies  we  find  in  her  "  Thoughts  and  Theories." 
Even  these  are  deeply  veined  with  her  passionate  love 
of  nature,  though  she  speaks  of  it  as  a  companion  of 
the  past.     She  says :  — 

"  I  thank  Thee  that  my  childhood's  vanished  days 

Were  cast  in  rural  ways, 
Where  I  beheld,  with  gladness  ever  new, 

That  sort  of  vagrant  clew 
Which  lodges  in  the  beggarly  tents  of  such 
Vile  weeds  as  virtuous  plants  disdain  to  touch, 
And  with  rough-bearded  burs,  night  after  night, 
Upgathered  by  the  morning,  tender  and  true, 

Into  her  clear,  chaste  light. 

"Such  ways  I  learned  to  know 
That  free  will  cannot  go 


102  ALICE  AND  PUCE  BE   CARY. 

Outside  of  mercy ;  learned  to  bless  his  name 
Whose  revelations,  ever  thus  renewed 
Along  the  varied  year,  in  field  and  wood, 
His  loving  care  proclaim. 

*  I  thank  Thee  that  the  grass  and  the  red  rose 
Do  what  they  can  to  tell 
How  spirit  through  all  forms  of  matter  flows  ; 
For  every  thistle  by  the  common  way, 
Wearing  its  homely  beauty  ;  for  each  spring 
That,  sweet  and  homeless,  runneth  where  it  will ; 

For  night  and  day ; 
For  the  alternate  seasons,  —  everything 
Pertaining  to  life's  marvelous  miracle." 

But  these  later  poems,  with  all  their  spiritual 
thought  and  insight,  with  all  their  tender  retrospection, 
never  equaled  in  freshness  and  fullness  of  melody,  in 
a  nameless  rush  of  music,  her  first  lyrics  ;  those  lyrics 
written  when  the  young  soui,  attuned  to  every  sound  in 
nature,  thrilling  with  the  fiist  consciousness  of  its  visi- 
ble and  invisible  life,  like  the  reed  of  Pan,  gave  it  all 
forth  in  music  at  the  touch  of  every  breeze.  No  won- 
der that  so  many  pilgrims  out  in  the  world  turned  and 
listened  to  the  first  notes  of  a  song  so  natural  and 
"piercing  sweet."  To  the  dusty  wayfarer  the  freedom 
and  freshness  and  fullness  of  the  winds  and  waves 
swept  through  it.     Listen  :  — 

"  Do  you  hear  the  wild  birds  calling  ? 
Do  you  hear  them,  O  my  heart  ? 
Do  you  see  the  blue  air  falling 
From  their  rushing  wings  apart  ? 


TO   THE    WINDS.  103 

"With  young  mosses  they  are  flocking, 
For  they  hear  the  laughing  breeze 
With  dewy  fingers  rocking 

Their  light  cradles  in  the  trees  !  " 

And  here  is  one  of  her  early  contributions  to  the 
"  National  Era,"  written  before  she  was  .known  to 
fame,  and  before  she  was. paid  money  for  her  writing. 

TO  THE  WINDS. 

Talk  to  my  heart,  O  winds  — 

Talk  to  my  heart  to-night  \  , 

My  spirit  always  finds 

With  you  a  new  delight  — 

Finds  always  new  delight, 

In  your  silver  talk  at  night. 

Give  me  your  soft  embrace 

As  you  used  to  long  ago, 
In  your  shadowy  trysting-place, 

When  you  seemed  to  love  me  so  — 
When  you  sweetly  kissed  me  so, 
On  the  green  hills,  long  ago. 

Come  up  from  your  cool  bed, 

In  the  stilly  twilight  sea, 
For  the  dearest  hope  lies  dead 

That  was  ever  dear  to  me  ; 
Come  up  from  your  cool  bed, 
And  we'll  talk  about  the  dead. 

Tell  me,  for  oft  you  go, 

Winds  —  lovely  winds  of  night  — 


104  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

About  the  chambers  low, 

With  sheets  so  dainty  white, 
If  they  sleep  through  all  the  night 
In  the  beds  so  chill  and  white  ? 

Talk  to  me,  winds,  and  say 

If  in  the  grave  be  rest, 
For,  O  !  Life's  little  day 

Is  a  weary  one  at  best  ; 
Talk  to  my  heart  and  say 
If  Death  will  give  me  rest. 

In  her  minor  lyrics  of  this  period,  those  singing  of 
some  sad  human  experience,  we  find  the  same  intimate 
presence  of  natural  objects,  the  same  simple,  inimitable 
pictures  of  country  life.  I  was  a  young  girl  when  the 
following  stanzas  first  met  my  eye.  The  exquisite  sen- 
sation which  thrilled  me  when  I  read  them,  was  among 
the  never-to-be-forgotten  experiences  of  a  life-time.  It 
was  as  if  I  had  never  read  a  poem  before,  and  had  but 
just  received  a  new  revelation  of  song;  though  the 
soul  from  whence  it  came  was  to  me  but  a  name. 

Very  pale  lies  Annie  Clayville, 

Still  her  forehead,  shadow-crowned, 
And  the  watchers  hear  her  saying, 

As  they  softly  tread  around  — 
"  Go  out,  reapers  !  for  the  hill-tops 

Twinkle  with  the  summer's  heat ; 
Lay  out  your  swinging  cradles, 

Golden  furrows  of  ripe  wheat ! 
While  the  little  laughing  children, 

Lightly  mingling  work  with  play, 


A    COUNTRY  PICTURE.  IOS 

From  between  the  long  green  winrows 

Glean  the  sweetly-scented  hay, 
Let  your  sickles  shine  like  sunbeams 

In  the  silvery  flowing  rye  ; 
Ears  grow  heavy  in  the  corn-fields 

That  will  claim  you  by  and  by. 
Go  out,  reapers,  with  your  sickles, 

Gather  home  the  harvest  store  ! 
Little  gleaners,  laughing  gleaners, 

I  shall  go  with  you  no  more  ! " 

Round  the  red  moon  of  October, 

White  and  cold,  the  eve  stars  climb; 
Birds  are  gone,  and  flowers  are  dying  — 

Tis  a  lonesome,  lonesome  time  ! 
Yellow  leaves  along  the  woodland 

Surge  to  drift ;  the  elm-bough  sways, 
Creaking  at  the  homestead  window, 

All  the  weary  nights  and  days  ; 
Dismally  the  rain  is  falling, 

Very  dismally  and  cold  ! 
Close  within  the  village  grave-yard, 

By  a  heap  of  freshest  ground, 
With  a  simple,  nameless  head-stone, 

Lies  a  low  and  narrow  mound  ; 
And  the  brow  of  Annie  Clayville 

Is  no  longer  shadow-crowned. 
Rest  thee,  lost  one !  rest  thee  calmly, 

Glad  to  go  where  pain  is  o'er  ; 
Where  they  say  not,  through  the  night-time, 

"  I  am  weary  !  "  any  more. 

In  her  verses  "  To  an  Early  Swallow,"  written  within 


io6  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

a  year  or  two  of  her  death,  we  find  lines  which  revive 
much  of  the  exquisite  imagery  which  made  her  earlier 
lyrics  so  remarkable.     She  says  :  — 

My  little  bird  of  the  air, 
If  thou  dost  know,  then  tell  me  the  sweet  reason 
Thou  comest  alway,  duly  in  thy  season, 

To  build  and  pair. 
For  still  we  hear  thee  twittering  round  the  eaves, 
Ere  yet  the  attentive  cloud  of  April  lowers, 
Up  from  their  darkened  heath  to  call  the  flowers, 

Where,  all  the  rough,  hard  weather, 

They  kept  together, 
Under  their  low  brown  roof  of  withered  leaves. 

And  for  a  moment  still 

Thy  ever-tuneful  bill, 
And  tell  me,  and  I  pray  thee  tell  me  true, 
If  any  cruel  care  thy  bosom  frets, 
The  while  thou  flittest  ploughlike  through  the  air— «■ 

Thy  wings  so  swift  and  slim, 

Turned  downward,  darkly  dim, 
Like  furrows  on  a  ground  of  violets. 

Nay,  tell  me  not,  my  swallow, 

But  have  thy  pretty  way, 

And  prosperously  follow 

The  leading  of  the  sunshine  all  the  day. 

Thy  virtuous  example 
Maketh  my  foolish  questions  answer  ample  — 

It  is  thy  large  delights  keeps  open  wide 
Thy  little  mouth  ;  thou  hast  no  pain  to  hide ; 
And  when  thou  leavest  all  the  green-topped  woods 
Pining  below,  and  with  melodious  floods 


LAST  POEMS.  107 

Flatterest  the  heavy  clouds,  it  is,  I  know, 
Because,  my  bird,  thou  canst  not  choose  but  go 

Higher  and  ever  higher 

Into  the  purple  fire 
That  lights  the  morning  meadows  with  heart's-ease, 
And  sticks  the  hill-sides  full  of  primroses. 

But  tell  me,  my  good  bird, 
If  thou  canst  tune  thy  tongue  to  any  word, 
Wherewith  to  answer  —  pray  thee  tell  me  this.: 

Where  gottest  thou  thy  song, 

Still  thrilling  all  day  long, 
Silvered  to  fragments  by  its  very  bliss  ! 

Not,  as  I  guess, 

Of  any  whistling  swain, 
With  cheek  as  richly  russet  as  the  grain 
Sown  in  his  furrows  ;  nor,  I  further  guess, 

Of  any  shepherdess, 

Whose  tender  heart  did  drag 
Through  the  dim  hollows  of  her  golden  flag 
After  a  faithless  love  —  while  far  and  near, 

The  waterfalls,  to  hear, 
Clung  by  their  white  arms  to  the  cold,  deaf  rocks, 

And  all  the  unkempt  flocks 

Strayed  idly.     Nay,  I  know, 
If  ever  any  love-lorn  maid  did  blow 
Of  such  a  pitiful  pipe,  thou  didst  not  get 
In  such  sad  wise  thy  heart  to  music  set. 

So,  lower  not  down  to  me 
From  its  high  home  thy  ever-busy  wing ; 
I  know  right  well  thy  song  was  shaped  for  thee 

By  His  unwearying  power 


lo8  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Who  makes  the  days  about  the  Easter  flower 
Like  gardens  round  the  chamber  of  a  king. 

And  whether,  when  the  sobering  year  hath  run 
His  brief  course  out,  and  thou  away  dost  hie 
To  find  thy  pleasant  summer  company  ; 
Or  whether,  my  brown  darling  of  the  sun, 
When  first  the  South,  to  welcome  up  the  May, 

Hangs  wide  her  saffron  gate, 
And  thou,  from  the  uprising  of  the  day 
Till  eventide  in  shadow  round  thee  closes, 
Pourest  thy  joyance  over  field  and  wood, 

As  if  thy  very  blood 
Were  drawn  from  out  the  young  hearts  of  the  roses  — 

'Tis  all  to  celebrate, 

And  all  to  praise 
The  careful  kindness  of  His  gracious  ways 

WTho  builds  the  golden  weather 
So  tenderly  about  thy  houseless  brood  — 
Thy  unfledged,  homeless  brood,  and  thee  together. 

Ah  !  these  are  the  sweet  reasons, 
My  little  swimmer  of  the  seas  of  air, 
Thou  comest,  goest,  duly  in  thy  season ; 
And  furthermore,  that  all  men  everywhere 

May  learn  from  thy  enjoyment 
That  that  which  maketh  life  most  good  and  fair 

Is  heavenly  employment. 

In  the  very  latest  of  her  suffering  days,  Alice  Cary 
longed  with  longings  unutterable  to  bring  back  as  a 
living  presence  to  herself  every  scene  which  inspired 
those  early  songs.     In  her  portfolio  lie  her  last  manu- 


CRADLE  SONG.  109 

scripts  just  as  she  left  them,  copied,  each  one,  several 
times,  with  a  care  and  precision  which,  in  her  active 
and  crowded  days,  she  never  attempted  ;  copied  in  the 
new  chirograph)  which  she  compelled  her  hand  to 
acquire,  a  few  months  before  it  was  laid  upon  her 
breast,  idle  at  last,  in  the  rest  of  death.  These  late 
songs  breathe  none  of  the  faintness  of  death.  Rather 
they  ring  with  the  first  lyric  fervor ;  they  cry  out  for, 
and  call  back,  within  the  very  shadow  of  the  grave, 
the  woman's  first  delights.  Witness  these  in  this 
"  Cradle  Song,"  copied  three  times  by  her  own  hand, 
and  never  before  published. 

CRADLE  SONG. 

All  the  air  is  white  with  snowing, 
Cold  and  white  —  cold  and  white  ; 

Wide  and  wild  the  winds  are  blowing, 
Blowing,  blowing  wide  and  wild. 
Sweet  little  child,  sweet  little  child, 
Sleep,  sleep,  sleep  little,  child  : 
Earth  is  dark,  but  heaven  is  bright  — 
Sleep,  sleep  till  the  morning  light : 
Some  must  watch,  and  some  must  weep,* 
And  some,  little  baby,  some  may  sleep : 
So,  good-night,  sleep  till  light; 
Lullaby,  lullaby,  and  good-night  1 

Folded  hands  on  the  baby  bosom, 

Cheek  and  mouth  rose-red,  rose-sweet; 

And  like  a  bee's  wing  in  a  blossom, 
t,  beat,  beat  and  beat, 
So  the  heart  keeps  going,  going, 
While  the  winds  in  the  bitter  snowing 


IIO  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CAKY. 

Meet  and  cross  —  cross  and  meet  — 
Heaping  high,  with  many  an  eddy, 
Bars  of  stainless  chalcedony 

All  in  curves  about  the  door, 

Where  shall  fall  no  more,  no  more, 

Longed-for  steps,  so  light,  so  light. 
Little  one,  sleep  till  the  moon  is  low, 

Sleep,  and  rock,  and  take  your  rest ; 
Winter  clouds  will  snow  and  snow, 

And  the  winds  blow  east,  and  the  winds  blow  west 
Some  must  come,  and  some  must  go, 
And  the  earth  be  dark,  and  the  heavens  be  bright  i 

Never  fear,  baby  dear, 
Wrong  things  lose  themselves  in  right ; 

Never  fear,  mother  is  here, 
Lullaby,  lullaby,  and  good-night. 

O  good  saint,  that  thus  emboldenest 

Eyes  bereaved  to  see,  to-night, 
Cheek  the  rosiest,  hair  the  goldenest, 

Ever  gladdened  the  mother  sight. 
Blessed  art  thou  to  hide  the  willow, 

Waiting  and  weeping  over  the  dead, 
With  the  softest,  silkenest  pillow 

Ever  illumined  hair  o'erspread. 
Never  had  cradle  such  a  cover  ; 

All  my  house  with  light  it  fills  ; 
Over  and  under,  under  and  over, 

'Broidered  leaves  of  the  daffodils  ! 
All  away  from  the  winter  weather, 

Baby,  wrapt  in  your  'broideries  bright, 
Sleep,  nor  watch  any  more  for  father  — 

Father  will  not  come  home  to-night. 


LAST  POEMS.  Ill 

Angels  now  are  round  about  him, 
In  the  heavenly  home  on  high ; 

We  must  learn  to  do  without  him  — 
Some  must  live,  and  some  must  die. 
Baby,  sweetest  ever  was  born, 
Shut  little  blue  eyes,  sleep  till  morn : 
Rock  and  sleep,  and  wait  for  the  light, 
Father  will  not  come   home  to-night. 

Winter  is  wild,  but  winter  closes ; 

The  snow  in  the  nest  of  the  bird  will  lie, 

And  the  bird  must  have  its  little  cry ; 

Yet  the  saddest  day  doth  swiftly  run,       > 

Up  o'er  the  black  cloud  shines  the  sun, 

And  when  the  reign  of  the  frost  is  done 

The  May  will  come  with  roses,  roses  — 

Green-leaved  grass,  and  red-leaved  roses  — 

Roses,  roses,  roses,  roses, 

Roses  red,  and  lilies  white. 

Sleep  little  baby,  sleep,  sleep ; 

Some  must  watch,  and  some  must  weep ; 

Sweetly  sleep  till  the  morning  light, 

Lullaby,  lullaby,  and  good-night. 

By  its  side  lies  another  manuscript,  evidently  written 
later.  In  it  the  same  erect,  clear  writing  is  attempted, 
but  the  hand  wavered  and  would  not  obey  the  will ; 
the  lines  tremble,  and  at  last  grow  indistinct.  The 
poem  begun  was  never  finished.  As  the  failing 
hand,  the  yearning  soul  left  it,  word  by  word,  it  is  here 
given :  — 

Give  me  to  see,  though  only  in  a  dream, 
Though  only  in  an  unsubstantial  dream, 


112  *     ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

The  dear  old  cradle  lined  with  leaves  of  moss, 
And  daily  changed  from  cradle  into  cross, 
What  time  athwart  its  dull  brown  wood,  a  beam 
Slid  from  the  gold  deeps  of  the  sunset  shore, 
Making  the  blur  of  twilight  white  and  fair, 
Like  lilies  quivering  in  the  summer  air ; 
And  my  low  pillow  like  a  rose  full-blown. 

O,  give  mine  eyes  to  see   once  more,  once  more, 
My  longing  eyes  to  see  this  one  time  more, 

The  shadows  trembling  with  the  wings  of  bats, 
And  dandelions  dragging  to  the  door, 
And  speckling  all  the  grass  about  the  door, 

With  the  thick  spreading  of  their  starry  mats. 

Give  me  to  see,  I  pray  and  can  but  pray, 

0,  give  me  but  to  see  to-day,  to-day, 

The  little  brown-walled  house  where  I  was  born ; 
The  gray  old  barn,  the  cattle-shed  close  by, 
The  well-sweep,  with  its  angle  sharp  and  high ; 
The  flax  field,  like  a  patch  of  fallen  sky ; 
The  millet  harvest,  colored  like  the  corn, 
Like  to  the  ripe  ears  of  the  new  husked  corn. 

And  give  mine  eyes  to  see  among  the  rest 
This  rustic  picture,  in  among  the  rest, 
For  there  and  only  there  it  doth  belong, 

1,  at  fourteen,  and  in  my  Sunday  best, 
Reading  with  voice  unsteady  my  first  song, 
The  rugged  verses  of  my  first  rude  song. 

As  a  ballad  writer  she  was  never  equaled  by  any 
American  man  or  woman.     She  loved  the  ballad,  and 


BALLADS.  T73 

there  is  ever  in  hers  a  naive,  arch  grace  of  utterance,  in- 
imitable. In  the  ballad,  hers  was  the  very  luxury  of 
song.  She  never  waited  for  a  rhyme.  Her  rhythm  rip- 
pled and  ran  with  the  fervor  and  fullness  of  a  mountain 
brook  after  the  springtime  rains.  Never  quite  over- 
taking it,  she  yet  leaped  and  ran  and  sang  with  it  in 
ever  new  delight.  What  a  wild  thrilling  rush  is  there 
in  such  lines  as  these  :  — 

"  Haste,  good  boatman  !    haste  !  "  she  cried, 
"  And  row  me  over  the  other  side  !  " 

And  she  stript  from  her  finger  the  shining  r^ng, 

And  gave  it  me  for  the  ferrying. 

"Woe's  me !  my  Lady,  I  may  not  go, 
For  the  wind  is  high  and  th'  tide  is  low, 
And  rocks  like  dragons  lie  in  the  wave, — 
Slip  back  on  your  finger  the  ring  you  gave  !  " 

u  Nay,  nay !  for  the  rocks  will  be  melted  down, 
And  the  waters,  they  never  will  let  me  drown, 
And  the  wind  a  pilot  will  prove  to  thee, 
For  my  dying  lover,  he  waits  for  me  !  " 

Then  bridle-ribbon  and  silver  spur 
She  put  in  my  hand,  but  I  answered  her : 
"The  wind  is  high  and  the  tide  is  low, — 
I  must  not,  dare  not,  and  will  not  go !  " 

Her  face  grew  deadly  white  with  pain, 
And  she  took  her  champing  steed  by  th'  mane, 
And  bent  his  neck  to  th'  ribbon  and  spur 
That  lay  in  my  hand,  —  but  I  answered  her  : 
8 


114  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  Though  you  should  proffer  me  twice  and  thrico 
Of  ring  and  ribbon  and  steed  the  price,  — 
The  leave  of  kissing  your  lily-like  hand  ! 
I  never  could  row  you  safe  to  th'  land." 

"  Then  God  have  mercy  !  "  she  faintly  criea, 

"  For  my  lover  is  dying  the  other  side  ! 
O  cruel,  O  cruellest  Gallaway, 
Be  parted,  and  make  me  a  path,  I  pray ! " 

Of  a  sudden,  the  sun  shone  large  and  bright 
As  if  he  were  staying  away  the  night, 
And  the  rain  on  the  river  fell  as  sweet 
As  the  pitying  tread  of  an  angel's  feet. 

And  spanning  the  water  from  edge  to  edge 
A  rainbow  stretched  like  a  golden  bridge, 
And  I  put  the  rein  in  her  hand  so  fair, 
And  she  sat  in  her  saddle  th'  queen  o'  th'  air. 

And  over  the  river,  from  edge  to  edge, 
She  rode  on  the  shifting  and  shimmering  bridge, 
And  landing  safe  on  the  farther  side,  — 
"Love  is  thy  conqueror,  Death!  "  she'cried. 

The  following  is,  perhaps,  a  more  characteristic  illus- 
tration of  the  pensive  naturalness  of  her  usual  manner. 
Amid  scores,  it  simply  represents  her  utter  ease  of 
rhythm ;  the  blended  realism  and  idealism  of  hex 
thoughts  and  feelings  :  — 

And  Margaret  set  her  wheel  aside, 
And  breaking  off  her  thread, 


BALLADS.  115 

Went  forth  into  the  harvest-field 
With  her  pail  upon  her  head,  — 

Her  pail  of  sweetest  cedar-wood, 

With  shining  yellow  bands, 
Through  clover,  lifting  its  red  tops 

Almost  unto  her  hands. 

Her  ditty  flowing  on  the  air, 

For  she  did  not  break  her  song, 
And  the  water  dripping  o'er  th'  grass, 

From  her  pail  as  she  went  along,  —      > 

Over  the  grass  that  said  to  her, 
Trembling  through  all  its  leaves, 
u  A  bright  rose  for  some  harvester 
To  bind  among  his  sheaves  !  " 

And  clouds  of  gay  green  grasshoppers 

Flew  up  the  way  she  went, 
And  beat  their  wings  against  their  sides, 

And  chirped  their  discontent. 

And  the  blackbird  left  the  piping  of 

His  amorous,  airy  glee, 
And  put  his  head  beneath  his  wing,  — 

An  evil  sign  to  see. 

The  meadow-herbs,  as  if  they  felt 

Some  secret  wound,  in  showers 
Shook  down  their  bright  buds  till  her  w;v 

Was  ankle-deep  with  iluwers. 


Il6  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Her  personal  acquaintance  with  all  the  flowers  and 
herbs  of  wood  and  field  was  as  intimate  as  that  she 
had  with  people.  She  never  generalizes  in  writing  of 
them,  but  sets  each  one  in  her  verse  as  she  would  in  a 
vase,  with  the  most  delicate  consciousness  of  its  blend- 
ing lights  and  shades.  A  young  Southern  lady,  who 
from  childhood  has  been  a  loving  student  of  Alice 
Cary's  poetry,  remarked  at  her  funeral,  that  she  be- 
lieved she  could  find  each  flower  of  our  Middle  States, 
and  many  of  those  of  the  South,  mentioned  with  ap- 
preciation in  some  part  of  Alice  Cary's  poems. 

Yet  nothing  in  her  music  touches  one  so  nearly  as 
its  manifold  variations  of  the  hymn  of  human  life  — 
now  tender,  pathetic,  and  patient ;  now  grand  with  res- 
ignation and  faith,  uttered  always  with  a  child-like  sim- 
plicity ;  telling,  most  of  all,  how  the  human  heart  can 
love  and  suffer,  how  it  can  believe  and  find  rest.  It 
was  her  all-embracing  pity,  her  yearning  love  for  the 
entire  race  of  Adam,  which  made  her  song  a  personal 
power,  an  ever  present  consolation  to  thousands  of 
human  souls  who  never  measured  her  by  any  rule  of 
poetic  art.  A  friend  who  had  loved  her  long,  writing 
of  her  after  death,  said  :  — 

"  Having  passed  one  day  from  her  chamber  of  an- 
guish, musing  upon  her  despondency  at  being  thus  laid 
aside  from  active  employment,  we  recounted  her  words 
at  the  bedside  of  another  sufferer,  who  had  never  seen 
the  afflicted  poet.  The  latter,  in  reply,  drew  her  com- 
mon-place book  from  beneath  her  pillow,  and  pointed 
to  poem  after  poem  by  Alice  Cary,  which  had  been  her 
solace  during  weary  months  and  years  of  sickness  and 
pain,  and  bade  us  give  her  greeting  of  gratitude  to  that 
unknown  but  beloved  benefactor.     Thus  does  the  All- 


SCRAP-BOOKS.  117 

seeing  Father  bless  our  unconscious  influence,  and 
often  make  our  seeming  helplessness  more  potent  for 
good  than  our  best  hours  of  purposed  effort." 

If  the  scrap-books  of  the  land  could  to-day  be  drawn 
forth  from  their  receptacles,  we  should  find  that  Alice 
Cary  has  a  place  as  a  poet  in  the  hearts  of  the  people, 
which  no  mere  critic  in  his  grandeur  has  ever  allowed. 
Nor  would  these  scrap-books  be  solely  the  property  of 
"  gushing  "  girls,  and  tearful  women.  The  heart  of 
man  responds  scarcely  less  to  her  music.  One  of  the 
most  eminent  and  learned  of  living  statesmen  remarked, 
since  her  death,  "  It  seems  as  if  I  had  read  almost 
every  poem  that  Alice  Cary  has  ever  written  :  at  least 
my  scrap-book  is  full  of  them." 

There  is  no  sadder  inequality  than  that  which  exists 
often  between  the  estimate  an  author  places  upon 
some  work  that  has  been  wrought  from  his  soul  and 
brain,  and  the  one  placed  on  it  by  a  careless  reader,  or 
the  average  public.  It  is  the  very  tissue  of  being,  the 
life-blood  of  one.  To  the  other,  often,  it  is  but  mere 
words ;  or,  at  most,  an  inartistic  performance,  whose 
best  fate  is  to  be  superficially  read  and  quickly  for- 
gotten. Nor  is  it  the  fault  of  this  public  that  it  is  all 
unknowing  of  the  time  and  tears,  the  patience  and  sor- 
row and  love  often  inwrought  in  the  book  which  it  so 
lightly  passes  over.  It  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  in- 
dividual life  of  the  author;  yet  no  less  its  thoughtless 
and  sometimes  unjust  judgment  makes  one  of  the  hard 
facts  of  human  life.  There  never  was  a  more  touch- 
ing illustration  of  this  than  in  Alice  Cary's  feeling  to- 
ward her  little  book  of  poems  called  "  A  Lover's 
Diary,"  published  by  Ticknor  and  Fields,  in  186S,  and 
the  average  reception  of  it.     To  the  newspaper  notice  J 


Il8  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

it  seemed  but  a  tame  collection  of  love-songs,  never 
thrilling  and  often  wearisome.  This  was  the  most  that 
it  was  to  many.  To  her  it  was  her  soul's  flower  laid 
upon  the  grave  of  her  darling  —  the  young  sister  who 
for  so  many  years  was  the  soul  of  her  soul  and  the  life 
of  her  life.  It  is  the  portrait  of  this  sister  (though 
casting  but  a  dim  shadow  of  her  living  loveliness)  which 
graces  the  front  of  the  book ;  and  the  dedication  be- 
low it,  so  simple,  unfeigned,  sorrowful,  and  loving,  is 
one  of  the  most  touching  utterances  in  literature. 

Here,  and  not  here  ! 
When  following  care  about  my  house  I  tread 

Sadly,  and  all  so  slowly, 
There  often  seemeth  to  be  round  me  spread 
A  blessed  light,  as  if  the  place  were  holy ; 

And  then  thou  art  near. 

Lost,  and  not  lost ! 
When  silence  taketh  in  the  night  her  place, 

And  I  my  soul  deliver 
All  to  sweet  dreaming  of  thy  sovereign  grace, 
I  see  the  green  hills  on  beyond  the  river 

Thy  feet  have  crossed. 

And  so,  my  friend, 
I  have  and  hold  thee  all  the  while  I  wait, 

Musing  and  melancholy ; 
And  so  these  songs  to  thee  I  dedicate, 
Whose  song  shall  flow  henceforth  serene  and  holy, 

Life  without  end. 

For  dear,  dear  one, 
Even  as  a  traveller,  doomed  alone  to  go 


ELM  IN  A    CARY.  119 

Through  some  wild  wintry  valley, 
Takes  in  his  poor,  rude  hand  the  wayside  snow 
And  shapes  it  to  the  likeness  of  a  lily, 

So  have  I  done  ; 

The  while  I  wove 
Lays  that  to  men's  minds  haply  might  recall 

Some  bower  of  bliss  unsaddened, 
Moulding  and  modulating  one  and  all 
Upon  thy  life,  so  many  lives  that  gladdened 
With  light  and  love. 

1 
Elmina  Cary,  the  youngest  child  of  Robert  and 
Elizabeth  Cary,  seemed  to  take  the  place  in  Alice's 
heart  and  care,  filled  by  the  little  sister  Lucy  in  her 
youth.  Elmina,  who  was  married  in  early  girlhood  to 
Mr.  Alexander  Swift  of  Cincinnati,  in  her  health  very 
soon  showed  symptoms  of  the  family  fate.  Marked  by 
death  at  twenty,  she  lingered  eleven  years.  A  portion 
of  this  time  her  home  was  in  New  York.  The  air  of 
Cincinnati  was  harsh  for  her,  and  needing  always  in 
her  decline  the  ministry  of  her  sisters,  she  spent  much 
time  with  them,  and  died  in  their  home.  She  was 
especially  dependent  upon  Alice,  as  Phoebe  says: 
"  Greatly  her  junior,  and  of  feeble  frame,  she  was  her 
peculiar  care,  a  sister,  child,  and  darling."  She  slowly 
faded  from  the  earth,  day  by  day  growing  lovelier  to 
the  last.  She  had  the  face  and  nature  of  Alice, 
touched  with  the  softness  of  dependence,  and  the  del- 
icate contour  of  youth.  She  was  of  especial  loveli- 
ness, with  a  CaCC  to  inspire  a  painter  :  oval,  olive-tinted, 
crowned  with  masses  of  dark  hair,  lit  with  a  pair  of 
dark  eyes  as  steadfast  as  ulanets  and    as  shini: 


£20  ALICE   AND   PIKE  BE   CARY. 

stars  All  innocence  and  tenderness,  many  friends  of 
Alice  and  Phcebe  remember  this  younger  sister  as  the 
gentlest  genius  of  their  household.  She  possessed 
the  gift  divine  of  her  family  —  was  a  poet  in  tempera- 
ment and  heart,  as  she  must  have  been  in  utterance, 
had  she  lived.  As  it  was,  she  wiled  away  many  hours 
and  years  of  pain  in  weaving  together  the  ballads  and 
hymns  and  artless  stories  of  life,  which  thronged  her 
heart  and  brain. 

Wearing  "the  rose  of  womanhood  "  in  perfect  loveli- 
ness, she  faded  away  from  the  world,  leaving  no  sign 
save  in  the  hearts  that  loved  her.  There  are  women 
striving  now  to  gather  into  their  ripening  souls  the 
grace  of  patience,  and  that  bright  serenity  which  is  its 
finest  charm,  who  feel  that  it  is  easier  to  reach  because 
she  lived  and  because  they  loved  her.  And  there  are 
men  wrestling  in  the  world,  their  days  crowded  with 
its  weary  affairs,  who  nevertheless  carry  this  woman's 
memory  like  a  flower  in  their  hearts,  thanking  God 
for  it.  For  no  man  finds  in  a  woman's  soul  the  rev- 
elation of  a  raier  self,  receiving  it  into  his  heart  as 
the  incentive  toward  a  better  life,  who  ever  loses  it 
wholly,  or  who  ever  forgets  the  gentle  face  that  was  its 
visible  type. 

When,  in  1862,  she  died,  Alice  wrote:  "My  darling 
is  dead.  My  hands  are  empty  ;  my  work  seems  done." 
From  that  hour,  till  the  "  Lover's  Diary "  was  pub- 
lished in  1868,  Alice,  amid  her  arduous  toils,  was  writ- 
ing these  songs  in  her  praise,  and  for  her  sake. 

When  the  book  was  done,  she  laid  it  in  the  hand  of 
a  friend,  saying,  with  tears  in  her  eyes,  "  It  will  be  some- 
thing to  you,  for  you  knew  her."  Its  prevailing  fault 
is  its  monotony.     The  sameness  of  its  rhythm,  and  the 


"MOJVA  sick:'  121 

constant  repetition  of  one  name,  is  sure  to  tire  a  reader 
after  a  few  consecutive  pages,  if  he  knows  nothing  of 
its  history,  and  never  knew  or  loved  personally  its  sub- 
ject. And  yet  no  appreciator  of  true  poetry  can  turn 
over  its  leaves  without  a  constantly  recurring  sense  of 
surprise  at  the  exquisite  beauty  of  phrase,  and  tender- 
ness of  rhythm  running  through  the  minor  lyrics. 
Phoebe  says  of  them  :  "  I  do  not  know  how  this  book 
may  affect  others ;  but  to  me  some  of  the  poems  have 
a  most  tearful  and  touching  pathos.  *  Mona  Sick  '  is 
perhaps  one  of  the  saddest  and  sweetest."  Read  as 
the  rhythmic  utterance  of  absolute  truth — the  heart's 
real  cry  over  a  loved  one  dying,  and  that  loved  'one  a 
sister  —  what  a  sacred  sound  these  lines  take  on  ! 

"  Low  lying  in  her  pallid  pain, 
A  flower  that  thirsts  and  dies  for  rain, 

I  see  her  night  and  day : 
And  every  heart-beat  is  a  cry, 
And  every  breath  I  breathe  a  sigh  — 

O,  for  the  May,  the  May  ! 

"  All  the  dreaming  is  broken  through  ; 
Both  what  is  done  and  undone  I  rue. 
Nothing  is  steadfast  and  nothing  true, 
But  your  love  for  me  and  my  love  for  you, 
My  dearest,  dear  little  heart. 

u  The  time  is  weary,  the  year  is  old, 
The  light  o'  the  lily  burns  close  to  the  mould  ; 
The  grave  is  cruel,  the  grave  is  cold, 
But  the  other  side  is  the  city  of  gold, 
My  dearest,  dear  little  heart." 


122  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

Coldly  as  this  little  book  was  received  at  its  publi- 
cation, more  of  its  lyrics  are  afloat  on  tlie  great  news- 
paper sea  to-day  than  ever  before  \  while  several  of 
them  have  been  incorporated  in  standard  books  of 
poetry.  There  is  one,  than  which  Charles  Kingsley  or 
Alfred  Tennyson  never  sang  a  sweeter,  which  has 
drifted  to  Europe  and  back,  and  been  appropriated  in 
a  hundred  ways,  whose  last  stanza  runs  :  — 

°  The  fisher  droppeth  his  net  in  the  stream, 

And  a  hundred  streams  are  the  same  as  one  ; 
And  the  maiden  dreameth  her  love-lit  dream  ; 

And  what  is  it  all,  when  all  is  done  ? 
The  net  of  the  fisher  the  burden  breaks, 
And  always  the  dreaming  the  dreamer  wakes." 

It  was  in  attempting  to  deal  with  more  material  and 
cruder  forces  that  Alice  Cary  failed.  In  the  more 
comprehensive  sense,  she  never  learned  the  world.  In 
her  novels,  attempting  to  portray  the  faults  and  pas- 
sions of  men  and  women,  we  find  her  rudest  work. 
Her  mastery  of  quaintness,  of  fancy,  of  naturalistic 
beauty  penetrated  with  pathetic  longing,  tinged  with  a 
clear  psychological  light,  revealing  the  soul  of  nature 
and  of  human  life  from  within,  all  give  to  her  unaf- 
fected utterances  an  inexpressible  charm.  But  the 
airy  touch,  the  subtle  insight,  which  translated  into 
music  the  nature  which  she  knew,  stumbled  and  fell 
before  the  conflicting  deformity  of  depraved  humanity. 
The  dainty  imagination  which  decked  her  poetic  forms 
with  such  exquisite  grace  could  not  stand  in  the  stead 
of  actual  knowledge  ;  usurping  its  prerogative,  it  de- 
generated into  caricature.     She  held  in  herself  the  pri- 


"CLOVERNOOK  STORIES."  1 23 

mal  power  to  portray  human  life  in  its  most  complex 
relations,  and  most  profound  significance.  She  missed 
the  leisure  and  the  experience  which  together  would 
have  given  her  the  mastery  of  that  power.  It  wrestled 
with  false,  and  sometimes  unworthy  material.  The 
sorrows  and  wrongs  of  woman,  the  injustice  of  man, 
the  highest  possibilities  of  human  nature,  she  longed  to 
embody  them  all  in  the  forms  of  enduring  art.  A  life 
already  nearly  consumed,  sickness,  weariness,  and 
death,  said  No.  Her  novels  are  strong  with  passages 
of  intense  feeling ;  we  feel  through  them  the  surges  of 
a  wild,  unchained  power ;  but  as  broad,  comprehensive 
portraitures  of  human  life,  as  the  finest  exponents  of 
the  noble  nature  from  which  they  emanated,  they  are 
often  unworthy  of  her.  In  interpreting  nature,  she 
never  failed.  Her  "  Clovernook  Stories,"  her  first  in 
prose  which  reproduced  perfectly  the  life  that  she 
knew,  are  pure  idyls  of  country  life  and  character,  and 
in  their  fresh,  original  charm  deserve  their  place  amid 
the  classics  of  English  speech.  In  the  utterance  of 
natural  emotion,  crossed  in  its  very  pathos  with  psy- 
chical thought,  surely  she  was  never  surpassed.  I  give 
an  illustration  from  "  An  Old  Maid's  Story,"  in  her 
"  Pictures  of  Country  Life." 

"  When  he  spoke  of  the  great  hereafter,  when  our 
souls  that  had  crossed  their  mates,  perhaps,  and  per- 
haps left  them  behind,  or  gone  unconsciously  before 
them,  dissatisfied  and  longing  and  faltering  all  the  time  ■ 
and  of  the  deep  of  joy  they  would  enter  into  on  recog- 
nizing fully  and  freely  the  other  self,  which,  in  this 
world,  had  been  so  poorly  and  vaguely  comprehended, 

if  at  all  ;  what  delicious  tremor,  half  fear  and  half  hi  vor 
thrilled  alJ  my  being,  and  made  me  feel   thai  the  dust 


124  ALICE   AND  PHOEBE   CARY. 

of  time  and  the  barriers  of  circumstance,  the  dreary 
pain  of  a  life  separated  from  all  others,  death  itself,  all 
were  nothing  but  shadows  passing  between  me  and  the 
eternal  sunshine  of  love.  I  could  afford  to  wait,  I 
could  afford  to  be  patient  under  my  burdens,  and  to 
go  straight  forward  through  all  hard  fates  and  fortunes, 
assured  that  I  should  know  and  be  known  at  last,  love 
and  be  loved  in  the  fullness  of  a  blessedness,  which, 
even  here,  mixed  with  bitterness  as  it  is,  is  the  sweet- 
est of  all.  What  was  it  to  me  that  my  hair  was  black, 
and  my  step  firm,  while  his  hair  to  whom  I  listened  so 
reverentially  was  white,  and  his  step  slow,  if  not  feeble. 
What  was  it  that  he  had  more  wisdom,  and  more  expe- 
rience than  I,  and  what  was  it  that  he  never  said,  '  You 
are  faintly  recognized,  and  I  see  a  germ  close-folded, 
which  in  the  mysterious  processes  of  God's  providence 
may  unfold  a  great  white  flower.'  We  had  but  crossed 
each  other  in  the  long  journey,  and  I  was  satisfied,  for 
I  felt  that  in  our  traversing  up  the  ages,  we  should 
meet  again." 

Another  strong  quality  in  much  of  her  prose  is  its 
sturdy  common  sense.  In  her  the  poetical  tempera- 
ment never  impinged  on  a  keen,  unclouded  judgment 
In  dealing  with  all  practical  matters  she  was  one  of  the 
most  practical  of  women.  She  betrays  this  quality  in 
the  utter  directness  with  which  she  meets  and  answers 
many  questions  concerning  every-day  life  and  charac- 
ter. The  last  article  in  prose  which  she  ever  wrote, 
printed  in  the  "  New  York  Independent,"  was  thus 
referred  to  by  its  editor :  — 

"  Lying  upon  her  sick-bed,  she  who  had  never  eaten 
the  bread  of  idleness  wrote  for  us  the  pungent  denun- 
ciation of '  Shirks,'  that  appeared  in  the  Daoer  of  Feb- 


"SHIRKS."  125 

ruary  2d.  It  was  probably  her  very  last  article,  and 
after  that  the  weary  hand  that  knew  no  shirking  was 
still.  She  intended  it  to  be  the  first  of  a  series  of '  semi- 
didactic  articles  '  — so  she  wrote  us." 

It  contained  these  words  :  — 

"  Blessed,  indeed,  is  that  roof-tree  which  has  no  fun- 
gus "attachment,  and  blessed  the  house  that  has  no 
dilapidated  chair  and  third-rate  bed  reserved  in  some 
obsoure  corner  for  poor  Uncle  John,  or  Aunt  Nancy  ! 
To  be  sure,  there  are  Uncle  Johns  and  Aunt  Nancys 
who  are  honestly  poor,  and  legitimately  dependent  — 
not  guilty,  but  simply  unfortunate.  It  is  not  of  such, 
however,  that  I  am  discoursing  j  they  will  come  under 
another  head.  It  is  of  that  sort  that  go  not  out,  even 
through  fasting  and  prayer  —  your  ' truly-begotten 
shirks? 

"  Talk  of  divine  rights !  They  are  quite  beyond 
that  j  they  do  not  seek  to  justify  themselves.  '  Dick,  the 
rascal,  has  more  than  he  knows  how  to  spend ! '  says 
John.  *  He  will  never  miss  the  little  I  shall  eat  and 
drink.'  And  so  it  happens  that  a  lank,  dirty,  coarse- 
shirted  man,  with  an  ill-flavored  budget  under  his  arm, 
and  poverty  of  blood  —  for  he  is  poor  all  through  — 
skulks  into  John's  house  some  morning  ;  and  woe  the 
day,  for  he  never  goes  out.  And  after  that,  4  eternal 
vigilance  is  the  price  '  at  which  his  snuffy  handkerchief, 
clay  pipe,  and  queer  old  hat  are  kept  out  of  the  draw- 
ing-room. 

"  And  after  the  same  fashion  Aunt  Nancy  quarters 
herself  upon  Susan ;  *  bringing  with  her,  perhaps,  a 
broken-boned  and  flyaway  cotton  umbrella,  a  bandbox, 
and  some  old-fashioned  duds  that  were  the  finery  of 
her  girlhood.     There  is  some  feeling  of  rebellion,  some 


126  ALICE   AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

feeble  effort  toward  riddance,  on  the  part  of  the  house- 
holders ;  but  they  are  rich,  and  their  doom  is  on  them. 
And  by  and  by  things  settle  into  unquiet  quiet ;  and 
John  and  Nancy  are  tolerated,  if  not  accepted  — being, 
whenever  their  habitual  aggressiveness  is  inordinately 
aggravated,  gotten  back  with  gentle  force  into  their  ac- 
customed dens.  Thus,  facing  no  responsibility,  assum- 
ing no  position  in  society,  nor  even  in  the  household, 
recognizing  no  duty,  they  are  dragged  along.  And 
when  that  call  comes  to  which  they  perforce  must 
answer,  Here  am  I  —  that  event  that  happeneth  unto 
all,  for  which  there  is  no  evasion  and  no  substitute  — 
they  simply  disappear.  The  world  was  no  richer  while 
they  stayed,  and  it  is  no  poorer  now  that  they  are  gone. 
No  single  heart  is  bereft,  even.  The  worm  has  eaten 
all  the  meat  out  of  the  shell,  and  has  perished  of  the 
surfeit  and  of  indolence  ;  and  why  should  mourners  go 
about  the  streets  ? " 

Alice  Cary  was  emphatically  a  worker,  yet  she  never 
for  a  moment  believed  that  mere  industry  could  supply 
the  lack  of  a  mental  gift.  In  an  article  of  great  power 
written  for  "  Packard's  Monthly,"  she  replied  to  Mr. 
Greeley  on  this  subject,  taking  issue  against  him.  It 
contained  the  following  paragraph  :  — 

"  I  do  not  believe  that  a  man  always  passes,  in  the 
long  run,  for  what  he  is  worth.  It  seems  to  me  a  hard 
saying.  The  vision  that  the  poet  or  the  painter  tran- 
scribes and  leaves  a  joy  and  a  wonder  to  all  time,  may, 
I  believe,  have  come  all  the  same  to  some  poor,  un- 
lettered man,  who,  lacking  the  e'xternal  faculty,  so  to 
speak,  could  not  lay  it  in  all  its  glorious  shape  and  color 
on  the  canvas,  or  catch  and  hold  it  in  the  fastness  of 
immortal  verse.     No,  I  cannot  give  up  my  comfortable 


ALICE   CAKY'S  RELIGIOUS  LIFE.  1 27 

faith,  that  in  other  worlds  and  far-off  ages  there  will 
appear  a  shining  multitude  who  shall,  through  death, 
have  come  to  themselves,  and  have  found  expression 
denied  them  on  earth :  beautiful  souls,  whose  bodies 
were  their  prisons  —  who  stammered  or  stood  dumb 
among  their  kind,  bearing  alone  the  slights  and  dis- 
graces of  fortune,  and  all  the  while  conscious,  in  their 
dread  isolation,  of  being  peers  of  the  poets  and  the 
kings,  and  of  all  the  royal  men  and  women  of  the 
world." 

Alice  Cary  lived  to  pass  into  that  serene  spiritual 
atmosphere  which  outlies  the  emotions  and  passiqns 
of  youth ;  where,  in  having  outlived  its  love  and  sor- 
row, its  loss  and  longing,  no  shadow  fell  between  her 
soul  and  the  Illimitable  Love.  Her  "  Thoughts  and 
Theories  "  and  "  Hymns,"  contained  in  the  volume  of 
her  poems  published  by  Hurd  and  Houghton,  1866, 
were  chiefly  the  utterances  of  this  period  of  her  life. 
They  called  forth  thousands  of  expressions  of  personal 
thanks  and  regard  from  all  over  the  land,  and  yet  they 
failed  of  universal  recognition  in  the  mere  world  of  lit- 
erature. They  won  little  or  no  praise  in  places  from 
whence  she  had  a  right  to  expect  it.  She  considered 
them  the  best  expressions  of  her  mature  power  ;  and 
the  comparatively  cold  reception  which  she  thought 
they  received,  especially  from  some  of  her  personal 
friends,  was  a  cause  of  grief.  Aside  from  all  sympathy 
of  friendship,  my  opinion  is  that  these  poems  never  re- 
ceived justice.  Yet  the  cause  was  scarcely  with  friends 
or  in  the  public  ;  but  was  a  part  of  the  untoward  con- 
ditions of  her  life.  She  was  forced  to  write  too  much. 
Her  nam  1  in  print  too  often.     This  is  one  of 

the  heaviest  penalties  which   genius  incurs   ID   earning 


128  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

its  living  by  a  pen.  Its  name  comes  to  have  a  market 
value,  and  is  sold  and  used  for  that.  Mere  newspaper 
work,  if  tolerably  well  done,  can  bear  this  test  for  a 
longtime.  But  it  is  death  to  poetry  to  write  it  "on 
time,"  or  to  sell  it  in  advance  for  a  name.  Necessity 
forced  Alice  to  do  this  so  often  that,  while  her  name 
never  lost  its  hold  upon  the  masses,  it  came  to  be  rate  j 
lower  in  the  estimation  of  critics,  and  in  some  sense 
her  sweetest  lyrics  sink  to  the  value  of  rhymes  in  the 
minds  of  her  friends.  Many  loved  Alice  as  a  friend, 
who  ranked  her  low  as  a  poet ;  and  she  knew  it.  But, 
heavy  as  the  outer  tax  upon  it  was,  the  deep  inner 
spring  of  her  inspiration  never  failed  ;  from  it  chiefly 
flowed  the  poems  in  this  book.  Yet  the  excess  of  her 
daily  labor  was  so  much  taken  from  its  chances  of 
success.  Some  of  her  warmest  personal  friends 
scarcely  took  the  trouble  to  look  within  its  covers,  to 
see  whether  it  contained  rhymes  or  poems.  They 
drank  tea  at  her  table,  they  waxed  eloquent  in  her  par- 
lor, they  knew  Alice  that  she  was  one  of  the  noblest 
and  sweetest  of  women  ;  after  that,  what  did  it  matter 
what  she  thought,  or  felt,  or  did ! 

They  never  dreamed  that,  when  the  lights  were  out, 
and  the  bright  parlor  closed,  the  woman  sometimes 
sat  down  and  wept  for  the  word  of  encouragement 
that  was  not  spoken,  for  the  little  meed  of  apprecia- 
tion that  was  not  proffered,  which,  could  it  have  come 
from  those  whose  judgment  she  valued,  would  have 
been  new  life  and  inspiration  to  her  amid  her  ceaseless 
toil. 

No  less  this  book  of  poems  holds  in  thought  and 
utterance  many  of  the  elements  of  enduring  existence. 
It    must    live,    because    it    is    poetry,    embodying    in 


ALICE   CARY'S  HYMNS.  1 29 

exquisite  rhythm  and  phrase  the  soul  of  nature  ano 
of  human  life  ;  live  in  the  heart  of  the  future  when 
we  who  criticised  it,  or  passed  it  by,  are  dead  and 
forgotten. 

9 


HO  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY* 


CHAPTER   VII. 

Alice's  last  summer. 

We  have  many  proofs  that  a  life  devoted  to  letters 
is  favorable  to  longevity  in  women.  With  all  the 
anxiety  and  care  of  following  literature  as  a  profession, 
with  all  the  toil  of  obtaining  a  livelihood  by  it,  they 
have  as  a  rule  lived  to  venerable  years.  A  passionate 
yearning  for  continued  human  existence  was  a  ruling 
characteristic  of  Alice  Cary  to  her  last  conscious  hour. 
She  had  inherited  a  constitutional  tendency  from  her 
mother,  which  was  unfavorable  to  robust  health  or 
to  long  life.  Yet  with  different  habits  of  work  and  of 
life,  established  early  and  persistently  pursued,  even 
she  might  have  won  the  longed-for  lease  of  life,  and 
have  added  another  to  the  list  of  venerable  names, 
whom  we  delight  to  venerate  among  women  of 
letters.  Truly,  some  proof  of  this  is  to  be  found  in 
the  fact  that  her  brothers,  sons  of  the  same  mother, 
who  have  spent  their  lives  on  and  near  the  old  home- 
stead farm  in  active,  out-door,  farmer  life,  are  to-day 
strong,  healthy,  and  robust  men. 

Alice  and  Phcebe  could  not  have  been  farmers,  but 
in  their  twenty  years  of  life  in  the  city  they  could 
have  followed,  nearer  than  they  did,  the  out-of-doors 
habits  of  their  old  country  home.  These  barefooted 
rovers  in  country  lanes,  who  grow  up  fostered  by  sun- 


CITY  LIFE.  I3X 

shine,  air,  and  sky,  the  intimate  friends  of  bees  and 
birds,  of  horses  and  cows,  of  the  cunning  workers  of  the 
ground  and  the  murmuring  nations  of  the  summer  air  ; 
these  lovers  of  common  flowers  with  common  names  \ 
these  rural  queens  who  reigned  supreme  in  their  own 
kingdom,  whose  richest  revenue  to  the  day  of  their 
death  was  drawn  from  the  wealth  of  nature  left  so 
far  behind,  in  the  full  flower  of  their  womanhood  came 
to  the  great  city,  and  began  a  new  life,  which  the 
vitality  of  the  old  enabled  them  to  endure  for  twenty 
years,  but  which  drew  constantly  on  their  vital  springs, 
without  adding  one  drop  to  the  sources  of  physical 
health.  To  attain  the  highest  success  which  they  sought, 
they  needed  both  the  attrition  and  opportunities  of  the 
city.  Had  they  added  to  this  new  life,  for  a  third  of 
every  year,  their  old  pastimes  and  old  pursuits,  they 
might  have  added  years  to  their  existence.  But  no 
human  being,  city  bred,  much  less  one  country  born, 
could  have  maintained  the  highest  health  or  have 
prolonged  existence  in  the  hot  air,  with  the  sedentary 
habits,  which  made  the  daily  life  of  Alice  and  Phcebe 
Cary  for  many  years.  The  new  life  encroached  upon 
the  old  vitality  imperceptibly,  and  not  until  the  very 
last  year  of  their  lives  was  either  of  them  conscious 
of  the  fatal  harm  it  had  wrought.  They  exchanged 
the  country  habits  and  the  familiar  out-of-door  haunts 
of  the  old  farm  for  the  roar  of  streets  and  the  confin- 
ing air  of  a  city  house.  Moreover,  modest  as  this 
house  was,  it  took  much  money  to  support  it  in  sue  h  a 
place.  This  was  all  to  be  earned  by  the  pen,  and  for 
many  years  it  was  earned  almost  exclusively  by  Alice. 
With  her  natural  independence,  her  fear  of  financial 
obligation,  her  hatred  <>f  debt,   her   desire  for  a  com- 


132  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CAKY. 

petency,  her  generous  hospitality,  it  is  easy  to  see  how 
heavy  was  the  yoke  of  work  which  she  wore.  Dear 
soul !  she  might  have  made  it  lighter,  could  she  have 
believed  it.  As  it  was,  even  to  the  last  she  was  never 
free  from  its  weight.  There  came  a  time  when  her 
personal  life  was  work,  work,  work.  Then  there  was 
the  shadow  of  death  always  on  the  house.  Elmina, 
the  youngest  darling  of  all,  was  fading  day  by  day 
from  before  their  eyes.  Her  outgoings  were  infre- 
quent and  uncertain.  The  leisure  moments  of  Alice 
and  Phcebe  were  spent  with  her  in  her  room.  As  she 
slowly  faded,  her  sisters  became  more  exclusively  de- 
voted to  her.  At  last  it  came  to  pass  that  Alice 
rarely  left  the  house  except  on  some  errand  of  neces- 
sity. 

After  Elmina's  death,  as  the  summers  came  round, 
she  became  more  and  more  loth  to  leave  her  city  home 
to  go  any  where  into  the  country.  Not  that  her  heart 
had  let  go  of  its  old  love  of  natural  beauty,  but  because 
sre  came  to  dread  journeys  and  the  annoyance  and 
inconvenience  of  travelling.  What  had  been  a  neces- 
sity at  times,  during  Elmina's  life,  remained  a  habit 
after  her  death.  By  this  time  Alice  had  herself 
merged  into  the  invalid  of  the  family.  The  crisis 
had  come  when  nature  demanded  change,  recreation, 
and  rest.  She  turned  her  back  on  all.  When  her 
friends  were  away,  scattered  among  the  hills  and  by 
the  sea,  Alice,  left  alone  behind  her  closed  blinds,  was 
working  harder  and  more  continuously  than  ever. 

The  stifling  summers  waxed  and  waned,  the  ther- 
mometer would  rise  and  glare  at  ioo°,  cars  and  stages 
would  rattle  beneath  her  windows,  but  through  all  the 
fiery  heat,  through  all    the    wearing    thunder  of  the 


SEDENTARY  HABITS.  133 

streets,  the  tireless  brain  held  on  its  fearful  tension, 
and  would  not  let  go.  Phoebe  would  spend  a  month 
in  the  country,  and  return  with  sea-weeds  and  moun- 
tain mosses  and  glowing  cheeks  and  eyes,  as  trophies  ; 
but  not  so  would  Alice.  Not  that  she  never  left  the 
city.  She  did  sometimes,  for  a  few  days,  but  it  was 
in  a  brief,  protesting  way,  that  had  neither  time  nor 
chance  to  work  -  her  help  or  cure.  As  the  sedentary 
habits  of  her  life  increased,  and  the  circulation  of  her 
blood  lowered,  she  had  recourse  more  and  more  to 
artificial  heat,  till  at  last  she  and  Phoebe  lived  in  a 
temperature  which  in  itself  was  enough  to  make  health 
impossible.  In  the  relaxed  condition  inevitably  pro- 
duced by  this  furnace  atmosphere,  they  were  sometimes 
compelled  to  go  into  the  out-door  air,  and  more  than 
one  acute  attack  of  sickness  was  the  result  to  both 
sisters. 

These  years  of  protracted  labor,  unbroken  by  recrea- 
tion, unblessed  by  the  resuscitating  touch  of  nature's 
healing  hand,  brought  to  Alice,  shy  and  shrinking  from 
birth,  greater  shrinking,  keener  suffering,  and  a  more 
abiding  loneliness.  She  was  never  selfishly  isolated. 
There  was  never  a  moment  in  her  life  when  tears  did 
not  spring  to  her  eyes,  and  help  from  her  hand  at  the 
sight  of  suffering  in  any  living  thing.  .She  would  go 
half-way  to  meet  any  true  soul.  She  never  failed 
in  faith  or  devotion  to  her  friends.  No  less  as  the 
went  on,  she  felt  interiorly  more  and  more  alone  \ 
she  shrank  more  into  her  own  inward  life,  and  more 
and  more  from  all  personal  contact  with  the  great  un- 
known world  outside  of  her  own  existence.  She  had 
settled  so  deeply  into  one  groove  of  life  and  labor, 
there  seemed  to  be  no  mortal  power   that  could    wrest 


134  ALICE   AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

her  out  of  it.  She  worked  much,  but  it  was  not  work 
that  harmed  her;  she  was  sick,  but  was  not  sick 
enough  to  die.  The  shadow  of  death,  falling  from  her 
mother's  life  across  so  many  of  her  sisters,  was  creep- 
ing slowly,  surely  up  to  her.  No  less  there  was  a  time 
when  it  was  in  her  power  to  have  gone  beyond  it,  out 
into  the  sunshine.  She  needed  sunshine  ;  she  needed 
fresher,  freer,  purer  air  ;  she  needed  change  and  rest. 
She  needed  a  will,  wiser  and  more  potent  than  her 
own,  to  convince  her  of  the  inexorable  laws  of  human 
life,  and  then  compel  her  to  their  obedience.  She 
could  never  have  entirely  escaped  the  inevitable  pen- 
alty of  hereditary  law  ;  but  that  she  might  have  de- 
layed it  to  the  outer  line  which  marks  the  allotted  time 
of  average  human  life,  no  one  finally  believed  more 
utterly  than  she  did.  Her  disobedience  of  the  laws 
of  life  was  the  result  of  circumstance,  of  condition 
and  of  temperament,  rarely  a  willful  fact;  no  less  she 
paid  the  penalty  —  by  her  so  reluctantly,  so  protest- 
ingly,  so  pathetically  paid  —  her  life. 

At  last,  all  that  she  .had  she  would  have  given  for 
her  life,  her  human  life,  but  it  was  too  late.  I  dwell 
on  the  fact,  for  thousands  are  following  her  example, 
and  are  hurrying  on  to  her  fate.  We  hear  so  much 
of  people  dying  of  work.  Yet  work  rarely  kills  man 
or  woman.  If  it  is  work  at  all,  it  is  work  done  in 
violation  of  the  primeval  laws  of  life  ;  it  is  work  which 
a  compelling  will  wrings  out  from  a  dying  or  over- 
taxed body. 

Another  summer  —  her  last;  the  ceaseless,  eager 
worker,  how  was  it  with  her  now?  The  low,  quick 
rustle  of  her  garments  was  no  longer  heard  upon  the 
ptairs.     The  graceful  form  no  longer  bent    over    her 


OVERTAXING.  135 

desk  j  the  face  no  longer  turned  from  it,  with  the  old 
thrilling  glance  of  welcome,  to  the  favored  cornel 
allowed  to  pass  the  guarded  door  sacred  to  consecrated 
toil. 

That  winter  of  mortal  anguish  had  done  more  to 
wreck  Alice  Cary,  than  all  the  years  which  she  had 
lived  before.  The  rounded  contours  were  wasted,  the 
abundant  locks,  just  touched  with  gray,  were  bleached 
white,  the  colorless  skin  was  tightly  drawn  upon  the 
features ;  for  the  first  time  she  looked  a  wreck  of  her 
former  self.  Yet  she  was  a  beautiful  wreck  ;  the  splen- 
dor of  her  eyes  made  her  that.  No  agony,  no  grief, 
had  been  able  to  make  their  lustre  less :  till  they 
closed  in  death,  their  tender  glory  never  went  out. 
She  was  almost  a  helpless  prisoner  now.  She  could 
not  take  a  step  save  on  crutches.  She  could  not  stir 
without  help.  Yet  that  which  no  power  of  entreaty 
could  move  her  to  do  the  summer  before,  she  now 
longed  to  do  at  any  hazard.  The  thunder  of  the 
streets  had  become  intolerable  to  her  tortured  nerves 
and  brain.  The  very  friends  who  had  urged  her  to 
leave  the  city  the  year  before,  now  believed,  in  her 
helpless  condition,  that  her  going  would  be  impossible. 
No  less  she  went,  —  first  to  Northampton. 

A  correspondent  of  the  "  New  York  Tribune  "  writes 
thus  of  her  appearance  at  Round  Hill:  — 

"Alice,  during  a  lew  weeks  past,  has  been  used  to 
sit  on  the  same  east  porch,  when  the  sunsets  have 
been  particularly  fine,  and  then  the  cane-seat  rocking- 
chair  of  the  dark  eyed  poetess  has  become  a  sort  of 
throne.  A  respectful  little  group  has  always  been 
gathered  about  it,  and  whenever  it  used  to  be  whis- 
pered about  of  an  evening,  that  Alice  Cary   hail    come 


136  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

out,  somehow  the  tide  of  promenaders  used  to  sel 
more  and  more  in  that  direction,  but  always  in  a  quiet 
and  reticent  manner,  just  to  get  a  glimpse  of  her,  you 
know,  while  accidentally  passing  her  chair.  I  believe 
that  she  dropped  among  the  Round  Hill  people  early 
one  day  in  August,  and  was  so  quiet  that  she  was 
regarded  as  a  sort  of  myth  by  most  of  the  frequenters 
of  the  place,  never  going  into  the  dining-room  nor  into 
the  great  parlor,  bigger  than  a  barn  ;  but  the  people 
said  she  was  there,  and  that  she  invested  the  house 
with  an  unusual  interest.  Her  city  home,  however 
snugly  appointed,  cannot,  I  am  sure,  compensate  one 
like  her  for  the  loss  of  country  air,  country  sights, 
and  country  sounds."  This  writer  apparently  realized 
not  her  helpless  state.  At  that  time  she  could  not 
rise  in  her  chair  to  take  her  crutches  without  assist- 
ance. Yet  as  she  sat  there  with  the  scarlet  shawl 
thrown  over  her  white  robe,  contrasting  so  vividly 
with  pallid  face  and  brilliant  eyes,  she  made  a  lovely 
picture,  to  which  many  allusions  have  been  made  in 
public  print  since  she  passed  away.  The  following  is 
from  Laura  Redden  ("  Howard  Glyndon  "  ),  a  woman 
who,  under  life-long  affliction,  embodies  in  her  own 
character  the  beautiful  patience  and  peace  which  she 
felt  so  intuitively  and  perfectly  in  our  friend. 

"  I  knew  her  in  every  way,  except  through  her  own 
personality.  I  knew  her  through  others  ;  through  her 
writings  ;  through  the  interpretation  of  my  own  heart ; 
and  I  remember  very  well,  that  once,  when  broken  in 
health  and  saddened  in  spirit,  I  felt  an  undefinable 
impulse  to  go  to  her,  and  knew  that  it  would  do  me 
good  to  do  so.  But  I  stopped,  and  asked  myself, 
1  Will  it  do  her  any  good  ?     What  can  I  give  in  returr 


AT  NORTHAMPTON.  137 

for  what  I  take  ? '  And  I  dismissed  the  impulse  as 
selfish.  I  had,  in  spirit,  gone  up  to  the  very  door 
that  stood  between  us,  and  after  hesitating,  as  I  stood 
beside  it,  I  went  away.  But  while  I  stood  there,  I 
thought  of  the  meek,  sweet  sufferer  on  the  other  side. 
1  She  has  so  much  more  to  crush  her  than  I  have,  but 
she  does  not  let  herself  be  crushed,'  I  said.  Then  I 
felt  ashamed  and  went  away,  resolving  to  murmur  less, 
and  to  struggle  more  for  strength  and  patience.  I 
really  believe  that  standing  on  the  other  side  of  the 
door  did  me  almost  as  much  good  as  going  in  would 
have  done. 

"  Later,  when  I  came  to  Northampton,  I  found  that 
she  was  under  the  same  roof  with  me.  But  when 
some  one  said,  '  Would  you  like  to  see  her  ? '  and  it 
seemed  as  if  the  door  stood  ajar,  I  drew  back,  with- 
out knowing  why,  and  said,  '  No,  not  now.' 

"  Once,  when  I  sat  reading  under  the  trees,  she  came 
out  leaning  upon  her  two  friends,  one  on  each  side. 
They  spread  a  gay  shawl  on  the  grass  for  her,  and  she 
sat  there  under  the  shining  light  which  came  through 
the  trees,  and  enjoyed  the  delicious  calm  of  a  cool, 
summer,  Sabbath  afternoon.  How  pale  and  worn  and 
weak  she  looked,  but  how  bright  and  unselfish  through 
it  all !  I  watched  her,  unseen,  and  I  prayed  very 
earnestly  that  God  would  bless  the  pure  country  air 
and  the  country  quiet  to  her.  She  thought  then  that 
they  made  her  better  ;  but  there  were  greener  pastures 
and  purer  breezes  in  store  for  her,  and  she  was  not  to 
stay  long  away  from  them. 

"  I  remember  another  evening  that  she  came  out  on 
the  east  porch,  and  sat  long  in  the  dusk  of  the  twilight 
I  sat  so  close  that  my  garments  brushed  hers  —  but  in 


138  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

the  dark  —  quiet,  unseen,  and  unknown;  and  I  was 
glad  to  have  it  so.  Somehow  there  was  an  undefin 
able  charm  in  holding  this  relation  to  a  person  in 
whom  I  had  so  large  an  interest.  It  was  so  much 
better  to  feel  that  I  knew  her  than  it  would  have  been 
to  realize  that  she  knew  me.  It  seemed  as  if  formal 
words  would  have  taken  away  all  this  charm.  When- 
ever my  hand  was  upon  the  handle  of  the  door,  I  drew 
it  away  again  and  said,  '  Wait ! ' 

"  When  I  heard  the  next  morning  that  she  was  gone, 
I  was  sorry  —  not  sorry  that  I  had  not  spoken  to  her, 
but  only  sorry  that  she  was  gone.  The  place  had  lost 
half  its  beauty  for  me." 

Alice,  who  had  promised  a  dear  friend  to  visit  her 
in  her  home  in  Northern  Vermont,  went  thither  from 
Northampton.  Faithful  hands  served  her,  strong, 
gentle  arms  bore  her  on,  in  this  last  struggle  for  life. 
"  How  I  was  ever  to  get  out  of  the  cars,  I  did  not 
know  ;  the  thought  of  it  filled  me  with  dread  and  ter- 
ror," she  said,  "  but  there  was to  lift  me  out  and 

carry  me  to  the  carriage.  I  never  felt  a  jar,  and  when 
I  sat  down  in  the  bay-window,  and  saw  the  view  be- 
fore it,  and  felt  the  loving  kindness  which  enveloped 
me,  it  seemed  as  if  I  had  reached  heaven." 

These  words  are  written  in  that  room  in  which  she 
sat  by  the  window  where  she  afterwards  wrote  her 
"  Invalid's  Plea."  From  this  bay-window  in  which  she 
sat,  she  looked  through  a  vista  of  maples  out  upon  a 
broad  expanse  of  meadow-lawn,  whose  velvet  turf  is 
of  the  most  vivid  malachite  green,  softened  on  its 
farther  edge  by  a  grove  wherein  the  shades  of  spruce 
and  pine,  elm  and  maple,  contrast  and  blend.  Be- 
yond these  woods  Lake  Memphremagog  sets  its  glit 


LONGINGS  FOR    SUMMER   REST.  1 39 

tering  shield  between  the  hills.  On  its  farther  side 
green  mountains  arise  till  they  hold  the  white  clouds 
on  their  heads.  Below,  Jay  Peak  stands  over  four 
thousand  feet  above  the  sea,  while  above,  Owl's  Head 
soars  over  three  thousand,  covered  with  forest  to  its 
summit.  It  is  a  picture  fit  for  Paradise.  Yet  it  is 
but  one  glimpse  amid  many  of  the  inexpressible 
beauty  of  this  lake  and  mountain  country  of  the 
North.  She,  sitting  here,  looked  out  upon  this  con- 
summate scene  ;  looked  with  her  tender,  steadfast  eyes 
across  these  emerald  meadows,  to  the  lake  shining 
upon  her  through  the  opening  hills,  to  the  mountains 
smiling  down  on  her  from  the  distant  heaven,  their 
keen  amethyst  notching  the  deep,  deep  blue  of  a 
cloudless  sky.  The  splendor  of  this  northern  world 
fell  upon  her  like  a  new,  divine  revelation.  The  tonic 
in  its  atmosphere  touched  her  feeble  pulses ;  the 
peace  brooding  in  its  stillness  penetrated  her  aching 
brain  with  the  promise  of  a  new  life.  Without,  the 
world  was  full  of  tranquillity  j  within,  it  was  full  of 
affection  and  the  words  of  loving  kindness.  Then 
she  wondered  (and  her  wonder  was  sad  with  a  hopeless 
regret)  why  summer  after  summer  she  had  lingered  in 
her  city  home,  till  the  crash  and  roar  of  the  streets, 
coming  through  her  open  windows,  had  filled  bod) 
and  brain  with  torture. 

"  How  blind  I  was!  "  she  exclaimed.  "  I  said  that 
I  could  not  take  the  time  from  my  work  ;  and  now  life 
has  neither  time  nor  work  left  for  me.  How  much 
more,  how  much  better  I  could  have  worked,  had  I 
rested.  If  I  am  spared,  how  differently  I  will  do.  I 
will  come  here  every  summer,  and  It    .' 

Alas  !  before  another  summer,  the  winter   snow  had 


140  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

wrapped  her  forever  from  the  earthly  sight  of  this  un 
utterable  beauty. 

Hers  from  the  beginning  was  the  fatal  mistake  of 
so  many  brain-workers  —  that  all  time  given  to  re- 
freshment and  rest  is  so  much  taken  from  the  results 
of  labor ;  forgetting,  or  not  realizing,  that  the  finer  the 
instrument,  the  more  fatal  the  effects  of  undue  strain, 
the  more  imperative  the  necessity  of  avoiding  over- 
wear and  the  perpetual  jar  of  discordant  conditions ; 
forgetting,  also,  that  the  rarest  flowering  of  the  brain 
has  its  root  in  silence  and  beauty  and  rest. 

Here  in  this  window,  whither  she,  wasted  and  suffer- 
ing, had  been  borne  by  gentle  arms,  our  dear  friend 
wrote  her  "  Invalid's  Plea,"  one  of  the  most  touching 
of  her  many  touching  lyrics  :  — 

"  O  Summer !  my  beautiful,  beautiful  Summer, 
I  look  in  thy  face  and  I  long  so  to  live ; 
But  ah !  hast  thou  room  for  an  idle  new-comer, 
With  all  things  to  take  and  with  nothing  to  give  ? 
With  all  things  to  take  of  thy  dear  loving  kindness  — ■ 
The  wine  of  thy  sunshine,  the  dew  of  thy  air ; 
And  with  nothing  to  give  but  the  deafness  and  blind- 
ness 
Begot  in  the  depths  of  an  utter  despair? 
The  little  green  grasshopper,  weak  as  we  deem  her, 
Chirps  day  in  and  out  for  the  sweet  right  to  live ; 
And   canst    thou,    O    Summer!    make    room  for  a 

dreamer, 
With  all  things  to  take  and  with  nothing  to  give  — 
Room  only  to  wrap  her  hot  cheeks  in  thy  shadows, 
And  all  on  thy  daisy-fringed  pillow  to  lie, 
And  dream  of  the  gates  of  the  glorious  meadows, 
Where  never  a  rose  of  the  roses  shall  die?  " 


DEATH  AND  BURIAL.  \\\ 


CHAPTER  VIII. 
Alice's  death  and  burial. 

When  a  dear  one,  dying  willingly,  lets  go  of  life,  the 
loosened  hands  by  so  much  reconcile  us  to  their  going. 
It  was  not  so  with  Alice.  Through  physical  suffering 
almost  beyond  precedent,  through  days  and  nights  and 
years  of  hopeless  illness,  she  yet  clung  to  this  life. 
Not  through  any  lack  of  faith  in  the  other  and  higher ; 
but  because  it  seemed  to  her  that  she  had  not  yet 
exhausted  the  possibilities,  the  fullness,  and  sweetness 
of  this.  She  thought  that  there  was  a  fruition  in  life, 
in  its  labor,  its  love,  which  she  had  never  realized  ; 
and  even  in  dying  she  longed  for  it. 

The  autumn  before  her  death,  in  a  poem  entitled, 
"The  Flight  of  the  Birds,"  she  uttered  this  prayer:  — 

"  Therefore  I  pray,  and  can  but  pray, 
Lord,  keep  and  bring  them  back  when  May 

Shall  come,  with  shining  train, 
Thick  'broidered  with  leaves  of  wheat, 
And  butterflies,  and  field-pinks  sweet, 

And  yellow  bees,  and  rain. 

•'Yea,  bring  them  back  across  the  seas 
In  clouds  of  golden  witnesses  — 
The  grand,  the  grave,  the  gay ; 


142  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

And,  if  thy  holy  will  it  be, 
Keep  me  alive,  once  more  to  see 
The  glad  and  glorious  day." 

It  could  not  be.  "  The  golden  witnesses ,J  could 
only  chant  their  spring  music  above  her  couch  of  final 
rest.  Yet  within  one  month  of  death,  she  was  busier 
than  ever  with  plans  of  happiness  for  others.  "  O  !  if 
God  only  could  let  me  live  ten  years  longer,"  she  said  ; 
' '  it  seems  as  if  I  wouldn't  ask  for  any  more  time.  I 
would  live  such  a  different  life.  I  would  never  shut 
myself  up  in  myself  again.  Then  I  would  do  some- 
thing for  my  friends  !  " 

Phcebe,  writing  of  her  last  days,  says  :  — 

"  Though  loving  and  prizing  whatever  is  good  and 
lovely  here,  and  keeping  firm  and  tender  hold  of  the 
things  that  are  seen,  yet  she  always  reached  one  hand 
to  grasp  the  unseen  and  eternal.  She  believed  that 
God  is  not  far  from  any  one  of  us,  and  that  the  sweet 
communion  of  friends  who  are  only  separated  by  the 
shadowy  curtain  of  death,  might  still  remain  unbroken. 

"  During  her  last  year  of  illness  she  delighted  much 
in  the  visits  of  her  friends  ;  entered  with  keenest  zest 
into  their  hopes  and  plans,  and  liked  to  hear  of  all 
that  was  going  on  in  the  world  from  which  she  was 
now  shut.  She  talked  much  of  a  better  country  with 
those  who  came  to  talk  to  her  upon  the  land  to  which 
her  steps  drew  near ;  and  so  catholic  and  free  from 
prejudice  was  her  spirit,  that  many  of  those  friends 
whom  she  loved  best,  and  with  whom  she  held  the 
most  sacred  communion,  differed  widely  from  herself 
in  their  religious  faith. 

"  She  loved  to  listen  to  the  reading  of  poetry  and  of 


HER  LAST  POEM.  143 

pleasant  stories,  but  not  latterly  to  anything  of  an 
exciting  or  painful  nature  ;  and  often  wanted  to  hear 
the  most  tender  and  comforting  chapters  of  the  Gospels, 
especially  those  which  tell  of  the  Saviour's  love  for 
women.  At  the  beginning  of  each  month  she  had 
been  accustomed  for  some  time  to  furnishing  a  poem  to 
one  of  our  city  papers.  On  the  first  of  that  month  of 
which  she  never  saw  the  ending,  she  was  unable  to 
write  or  even  to  dictate.  A  whole  week  had  gone  by, 
when,  speaking,  suddenly  one  day  with  something  of 
the  old  energy,  she  asked  to  be  placed  in  her  chair, 
and  to  have  her  portfolio,  saying,  "  That  article  'must 
be  ready  to-day."  She  was  helped  from  the  bed  as 
she  desired,  and,  though  unable  to  sit  up  without  being 
carefully  supported,  she  completed  the  task  to  which 
she  had  set  herself.  The  last  stanza  she  wrote  reads 
thus  :  — 


" '  As  the  poor  panting  hart  to  the  water-brook  runs, 
As  the  water-brook  runs  to  the  sea, 
So  earth's  fainting  daughters  and  famishing  sons, 
O  Fountain  of  Love,  run  to  Thee  ! ' 

"  The  writing  is  trembling  and  uncertain,  and  the  pen 
literally  fell  from  her  hand  ;  for  the  long  shadows  of 
eternity  were  stealing  over  her,  and  she  was  very  near 
the  place  where  it  is  too  dark  for  mortal  eyes  to  see, 
and  where  there  is  no  work,  nor  device,  nor  knowled 

She  bad  written  earlier  what  she  herself  called  "  A 
Dying  Hymn,"  and  it  was  a  consolation  to  her  to  repeat 
it  to  herself  in  her  moments  of  deepest  agony. 

Earth,  with  its  dark  and  dreadful  ills, 
Recedes,  and  fades  away  ; 


144  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Lift  up  your  heads,  ye  heavenly  hills : 
Ye  gates  of  death,  give  way  1 

My  soul  is  full  of  whispered  song ; 

My  blindness  is  my  sight ; 
The  shadows  that  I  feared  so  long 

Are  all  alive  with  light. 

The  while  my  pulses  faintly  beat, 

My  faith  doth  so  abound, 
I  feel  grow  firm  beneath  my  feet 

The  green,  immortal  ground. 

That  faith  to  me  a  courage  gives, 

Low  as  the  grave  to  go  : 
I  know  that  my  Redeemer  lives  — 

That  I  shall  live  I  know. 

The  palace  walls  I  almost  see 

Where  dwells  my  Lord  and  King ; 

O  grave  !  where  is  thy  victory  ? 
O  death  !  where  is  thy  sting  ? 

As  her  strength  failed,  she  grew  more  and  more  fond 
of  the  hymns  of  her  childhood,  and  frequently  asked 
her  friends  to  sing  such  hymns  as,  "Jesus,  Lover  of  my 
soul,"  "  Show  pity,  Lord,  O  Lord,  forgive,"  "  A  charge 
to  keep  I  have  j  "  and  she  loved  to  have  them  sung  to 
old  tunes. 

Her  frequent  quotation  from  Holy  Scripture,  when 
in  intense  pain,  was,  "  Though  He  slay  me,  yet  will  I 
trust  in  Him." 

On  Tuesday,  February  7,  she  wrote  her  last  poem, 


DBA  TH.  145 

the  last  line  of  which  is,  "  The  rainbow  comes  but  with 
the  cloud."  Even  after  that,  she  attempted  in  her  bed 
to  make  a  cap  for  an  aged  woman  who  greatly  loved 
her,  and  whose  sobs  in  the  Church  of  the  Stranger, 
when  her  death  was  announced,  moved  the  whole  audi- 
ence to  tears.  But  her  fingers  failed,  and  the  needle 
stands  in  the  unfinished  cap  j  for  her  own  crown  was 
ready,  and  she  could  not  stay  away  from  her  corona- 
tion. She  fell  in  a  deep  sleep,  out  of  which  she  once 
exclaimed,  "I  want  to  go  away."  She  passed  away  as 
she  had  always  desired  —  waking  into  the  better  land 
out  of  a  slumber  in  this.  "  For  so  He  giveth  his  beloved 
sleep." 

The  last  published  words  that  Phoebe  ever  wrote  of 
her  sister  were  these :  "  Life  was  to  Alice  Cary  no 
holiday,  and  though  her  skies  had  gracious  hours  of 
sunshine,  they  had  also  many  dark  and  heavy  clouds  ; 
and  going  back  in  memory  now,  I  cannot  recall  a  time 
when,  looking  upon  her  face,  even  during  the  deepest 
slumber  that  she  ever  knew,  I  could  not  see  there  the 
sad  characters  of  weariness  and  pain  ;  until  I  beheld 
her  at  last  resting  from  her  labors  in  that  sweet, 
untroubled  sleep  which  God  giveth  his  beloved." 

When,  February  13,  1870,  the  telegraphic  dispatch 
swept  through  the  land  saying,  "  Alice  Cary  died  yes- 
terday. She  will  be  buried  to-morrow,  from  the  Church 
of  the  Stranger/'  the  announcement  was  followed  by 
a  simultaneous  outburst  of  sorrow.  Almost  every 
journal  throughout  the  country  published  a  biograph- 
ical sketch,  accompanied  with  expressions  of  personal 
loss.  In  hundreds  of  these  notices,  still  preserved, 
the  remarkable  feature  is  that  no  matter  how  remote 
the  journal  in  which  each  was  published,  it  is  more  an 


146  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

expression  of  individual  sorrow  at  the  departure  of  a 
beloved  friend,  than  of  mere  regret  at  the  death  of 
an  author.  Thus,  quoting  at  random,  we  find  whole 
columns  of  her  life  beginning  with  sentences  like  these  : 
"  With  a  sense  of  bereavement  that  we  cannot  express, 
we  record  the  death  of  our  dear  friend,  Alice  Cary." 

"  The  bare  mention  of  the  death  of  Alice  Cary  will 
be  sadly  sufficient  to  cause  a  feeling  of  sorrow  in 
many  a  household  in  every  part  of  the  country." 

"  A  woman  who  could  stand  up  for  her  rights  with- 
out arousing  the  animosities  of  others,  who  was  a 
philanthropist  without  either  cant,  affectation,  or  bit- 
terness, who  wrote  many  true  poems,  but  lived  one 
sweeter  and  truer  than  she  ever  wrote ;  such  was  our 
universally  beloved  Alice  Cary.  May  He  that  giveth 
his  beloved  peace,  give  us,  who  knew  her  beautiful 
life,  the  grace  to  imitate  it." 

"  She  had  created  for  herself  many  friends  whom 
she  never  saw,  and  many  who  had  never  seen  her 
until  they  beheld  her  lying  in  her  last  sleep  in  the 
house  of  prayer.  Among  these  was  one  gentleman 
well  known  in  scientific  circles,  —  a  man  supposed  to 
have  little  of  poetic  juice  in  the  dry  composition  of 
his  nature.  He  surprised  a  friend  who  sat  near  him, 
by  his  exhibition  of  feeling  while  the  address  was 
delivered  j  and  at  the  close,  in  explanation  of  his 
great  emotion,  he  said  :  '  I  have  read  every  line  that 
woman  ever  published.  I  have  never  spoken  to  her ; 
but  I  tell  you  she  was  the  largest-hearted  woman  that 
ever  lived  ! '  " 

A  letter  from  New  York  to  the  "  Boston  Post," 
dated  February  15,  1870,  contains  the  following  allu- 
sions to  her  funeral. 


ALICE   CARY'S  FUNERAL.  147 

"  Deai  Alice  Car}',  sweet  singer  of  the  heart,  is  gone 
New  York  was  shrouded  in  snow  when  her  gentle  face 
was  shut  away  from  human  sight  forever.  In  the  plain 
little  Church  of  the  Stranger,  with  her  true  friend, 
Dr.  Deems,  officiating,  and  many  other  true  friends 
gathered  around  in  mourning  silence,  with  streets  all 
muffled  into  sympathetic  stillness  by  the  heavy  drift- 
ing snow,  and  deep,  strong  sorrow  rising  from  hearts  to 
eyes,  the  sad  funeral  rites  were  performed.  Rarely 
has  a  more  touching  scene  been  witnessed  than  that 
which  separated  Alice  Cary  from  the  world  that  loved 
her.  Many  of  those  present  were  moved  to  tears, 
though  only  one  was  bound  to  her  by  kinship.  That 
one  was  her  sister  Phoebe,  her  constant  companion 
from  childhood,  and  more  than  her  sister  —  her  second 
self — through  thirty  years  of  literary  trial.  The  little 
church  was  filled  with  literary  friends  who  had  grown 
warmly  attached  to  both  during  their  twenty  years' 
residence  in  New  York.  All  the  members  of  Sorosis 
were  present  to  pay  a  final  tribute  to  her  who  had 
been  their  first  President.  Many  prominent  journal- 
ists and  authors  were  also  there,  forgetful,  for  the  time, 
of  all  but  the  solemn  sadness  around  them.  Near  the 
rosewood  coffin  that  contained  the  body  of  the  sweet 
poet,  sat  Horace  Greeley,  Bayard  Taylor,  Richard 
B.  Kimball,  Oliver  Johnson,  P.  T.  Barnum,  Frank  B. 
Carpenter,  A.  J.  Johnson,  and  Dr.  W.  W.  Hall,  who, 
for  near  and  special  friendship  during  her  life,  were 
chosen  to  be  nearest  to  her  to  the  grave.  When  the 
sad  rites  of  the  Church  were  concluded,  the  body  was 
borne  forth  and  taken  to  Greenwood  Cemetery,  the 
Bnow  still  falling  heavily,  and  covering  all  things  with 
a  pure   white    shroud.     It   seemed  as   though  nature 


148  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE    CARY. 

were  in  sympathy  with  human  sorrow,  till  the  grave 
was  closed,  for  then  the  snow  almost  ceased,  though 
the  sky  remained  dark,  and  the  silence  continued. 
And  thus  the  mortal  part  of  Alice  Cary  was  laid  at 
rest  forever." 

Horace  Greeley,  speaking  in  private  of  her  obsequies, 
said  that  such  a  funeral  never  before  gathered  in  New 
York  in  honor  of  any  woman,  or  man  either  ;  that  he 
never  saw  before  in  any  one  assembly  of  the  kind,  so 
many  distinguished  men  and  women,  so  many  known 
and  so  many  unknown. 

One  of  the  greatest  scholars  of  his  time,  sitting 
there,  shed  a  silent  tear  for  the  sister-woman  who, 
alone,  unassisted,  in  life  and  death  had  honored 
human  nature  ;  while  a  few  seats  off  wept  aloud  the 
women,  poor  and  old,  who  had  lived  upon  her  tender 
bounty. 

The  next  morning's  issue  of  the  "  Tribune  "  gave 
the  following  report  of  the  funeral : 

ALICE  CARY'S  FUNERAL. 

The  funeral  of  Miss  Alice  Cary  took  place  at  the 
Church  of  the  Stranger,  on  Mercer  Street,  at  one  o'clock 
yesterday  afternoon  j  and,  despite  the  severe  snow- 
storm which  must  have  prevented  many  from  coming, 
was  attended  by  a  very  large  number  of  the  friends 
and  admirers  of  the  deceased  poet.  The  service 
opened  with  an  organ  voluntary  from  the  "  Messiah," 
followed  by  the  anthem,  "  Vital  Spark  of  Heavenly 
Flame."  Dr.  Deems,  the  pastor  of  the  church,  read 
a  selection  from  the  15th  chapter  of  St.  Paul's  Epistle 
to  the  Corinthians,  and  then  said :  — 


ALICE'S  FUNERAL  SERMON.  149 

"  I  have  not  thought  of  a  single  word  to  say  to  you 
to-day,  and  I  do  not  know  that  it  is  necessary  to  say 
one  word  more  than  is  set  down  in  the  Church  service. 
Most  of  us  knew  and  loved  Alice  Cary,  and  to  those 
who  did  not  know  her,  my  words  would  fail  in  de- 
scribing the  sweetness  and  gentleness  of  her  disposi- 
tion and  temper.  It  seems,  indeed,  that  instead  of 
standing  here,  I,  too,  should  be  sitting  there  among 
the    mourners." 

The  speaker  then  described  the  patience  with  which 
she  had  borne  her  last  sickness,  and  told  how  he  had 
been  by  her  side  when  the  pain  was  so  intense,  that 
the  prints  of  her  finger-nails  would  be  left  in  the  palm 
-  of  his  hand  as  he  was  holding  hers.  But  she  never 
made  a  complaint. 

"  She  was  a  parishioner,"  said  he,  "  who  came  very 
close  to  my  heart  in  her  suffering  and  sorrow.  I  saw 
how  good  and  true  she  was,  and  the  interest  she  had 
in  all  the  work  I  had  in  hand  j  and  I  feel  as  if  an  as- 
sistant had  died  out  of  my  family.  The  people  of  my 
congregation  who  did  not  know  her,  ought  to  be  glad 
that  I  did.  How  many  traits  of  tenderness  have  come 
before  you  here,  how  many  observations  have  I  been 
able  to  make  to  you,  because  i  had  been  with  her  J 
To-day  I  can  only  make  my  lament  over  her  as  you 
do,  in  the  simplicity  or  affection.  Men  loved  Alice 
Cary,  and  women  loved  her.  When  a  man  loves  a 
woman,  it  is  of  nature  :  when  a  woman  loves  a  woman, 
it  is  of  grace  —  of  the  grace  that  woman  makes  by  her 
loveliness  ;  and  it  is  one  of  the  finest  things  that  can 
be  said  of  Alice  Cary,  that  she  had  such  troops  of 
friends  of  her  own  BCX  On  the  public  side  of  hei 
life  sin-  hid  honor,  on  the  private  side,  ho»iOi  *ad  ten 
derest  affection. 


150  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  And  now  she  has  gone  from  our  mortal  sight,  but 
not  from  the  eyes  of  our  souls.  She  is  gone  from  her 
pain,  as  she  desired  to  die,  in  sleep,  and  after  a  deep 
slumber  she  has  passed  into  the  morning  of  immor- 
tality. The  last  time  I  saw  her,  I  took  down  her 
works  and  alighted  on  this  passage,  so  full  of  conso- 
nance with  the  anthems  just  sung  by  the  choir,  and 
almost  like  a  prophecy  of  the  manner  in  which  she 
passed  away :  — 

" '  My  soul  is  full  of  whispered  song, 
My  blindness  is  my  sight ; 
The  shadows  that  I  feared  so  long 
Are  all  alive  with  light.' 

"  There  was  one  thing  in  Alice  Cary  of  which  we 
had  better  remind  ourselves  now,  because  many 
of  us  are  working-people,  and  people  who  work  very 
much  with  our  brains  ;  and  I  see  a  number  of  young 
people  who  are  come,  out  of  tenderness  to  her  memory, 
to  the  church  to-day,  and  there  may  be  among  them 
literary  people  just  commencing  their  career,  and  they 
say,  '  Would  I  could  write  so  beautifully  and  so  easily 
as  she  did  ! '  It  was  not  easily  done.  She  did  noth- 
ing easily ;  but  in  all  this  that  we  read  she  was  an 
earnest  worker  j  she  was  faithful,  painstaking,  careful 
of  improving  herself,  up  to  the  last  moment  of  her 
life.  Yesterday  I  looked  into  the  drawer,  and  the 
last  piece  of  MS.  she  wrote  turned  up,  and  I  said  to 
Phcebe,  '  That  is  copied  ; '  and  she  said,  '  No,  that  is 
Alice's  writing.'  It  was  so  exceedingly  plain,  it 
looked  like  print  in  large  type,  though  she  wrote  a 
very  wretched  hand.  But  her  sister  told  me  that  when 
she  came  to  be  so  weak  that  she  couldn't  write  much 


THE  BURIAL  SERVICE. 


151 


any  longer,  she  began  to  practice  like  a  little  girl,  to 
learn  to  form  all  her  letters  anew.  She  worked  to  the 
very  last,  not  only  with  the  brains,  but  the  fingers. 

"  When  Phoebe  wrote  me  last  Sunday  that  she  was 
alone,  and  that  Alice  was  gone,  I  couldn't  help  tell- 
ing my  people,  and  there  was  a  sob  heard  that  went 
through  the  congregation.  It  was  from  an  old  lady,  a 
friend  of  hers,  who  often  told  me  about  her,  and  spoke 
of  her  nobility  of  soul.  Alice  Cary  once  thought  of 
making  a  cap  for  her,  and  she  said,  '  I  will  make  a  cap 
for  Mrs.  Brown/  but  her  fingers  ached  so,  and  her  arm 
became  so  tired,  she  had  to  drop  it ;  and  the  ne_edle 
is  sticking  in  that  unfinished  cap  now,  just  as  she  left 
it.  She  would  have  finished  it,  but  they  had  finished 
her  own  crown  in  glory,  and  she  couldn't  stay  away  from 
her  coronation.  And  we  will  keep  that  cap  with  care  ; 
and  I  think  Jesus  will  remind  her  of  it,  and  say, 
'Child,  inasmuch  as  you  did  it  to  one  of  the  least 
ones,  you  did  it  unto  me.'  Should  I  speak  for  hours, 
I  could  only  tell  you  how  I  loved  her.  She  came  to 
me  in  the  winter  of  my  fortunes,  when  I  had  very 
few  friends,  and  I  loved  her,  and  will  revere  her 
memory  forever —  forever.  And  now  I  will  not  shed 
a  tear  for  Alice  Cary  ;  I  am  glad  she  is  gone.  I  felt 
at  once  like  saying, '  Thanks  be  to  God,'  when  I  heard 
that  the  pain  was  over  ;  and  it  was  so  delightful  to  go 
to  stand  over  her,  and  see  her  face  without  a  single 
Gown,  and  to  think,  f  She  is  gone  to  her  Father  and 
itherj '  and  into  his  hands  I  commit  her." 

After  the  Episcopal    Burial    Service   had  been    : 
the  choir  .    hymn   composed    by  Mi.^s    Phoebe 

Cary,  called,  "What  Sweetly  Solemn  Thoughts." 
Then  the  friends  of  Alice  Cary  were  requested  to  look 


152  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

upon  her  for  the  last  time.  The  body  was  taken  to 
Greenwood  Cemetery  for  interment.  The  pall-bearers 
were  Horace  Greeley,  Bayard  Taylor,  P.  T.  Barnum, 
Oliver  Johnson,  Dr.  W.  F.  Holcombe,  A.  J.  Johnson, 
F.  B.  Carpenter,  and  Richard  B.  Kimball.  Among 
the  persons  present  were  Wm.  Ross  Wallace,  the  Rev. 
O.  B.  Frothingham,  the  Rev.  C.  F.  Lee,  the  Rev.  Dr. 
Cookman,  James  Parton,  Fanny  Fern,  Mrs.  Professor 
Botta,  Theodore  Tilton,  Dr.  Hallock,  Mrs.  Croly,  Mrs. 
VVilbour,  John  Savage,  George  Ripley,  and  many 
others. 

The  casket  was  plain,  having  merely  a  silver  plate, 
on  which  was  inscribed  :  "  Alice  Cary.  a.  d.  1820  ; 
a.  d.  1871." 

At  a  special  meeting  of  Sorosis,  yesterday  morning, 
the  following  preamble  and  resolutions  were  read  and 
adopted :  — 

"  In  Miss  Cary's  inaugural  address  to  Sorosis,  occurs 
a  passage  made  memorable  by  the  late  sad  event. 
After  enlarging  upon  her  own  hopes  and  wishes  con- 
cerning the  growth  and  position  which  women  should 
yet  attain,  and  the  manner  in  which  they  should  yet 
vindicate  themselves  against  all  unjust  charges,  she 
said :  '  Some  of  us  cannot  hope  to  see  great  results, 
for  our  feet  are  already  on  the  down-hill  side  of  life. 
The  shadows  are  lengthening  behind  us  and  gathering 
before  us,  and  ere  long  they  will  meet  and  close,  and 
the  places  that  have  known  us  shall  know  us  no  more. 
But  if,  when  our  poor  work  is  done,  any  of  those  who 
come  after  us  shall  find  in  it  some  hint  of  usefulness 
toward  nobler  lives,  and  better  and  more  enduring 
work,  we  for  ourselves  rest  content.' 

"  Sooner,  perhaps,  than  she  then  thought,  the  way 


RESOLUTIONS  OF  SOROSIS.  1 53 

began  to  narrow,  and  her  feet  to  falter  on  the  road 
which  leads  to  immortal  life  ;  and, 

"  Whereas,  This  change,  so  feelingly  alluded  to  by 
Miss  Cary,  has  finally  overtaken  her  in  the  midst  of  her 
labors ;  therefore, 

"Resolved,  That  in  her  removal  this  Society  not 
only  mourns  the  loss  of  its  first  President  and  most 
gifted  member,  but  sympathizes  with  all  womanhood 
in  the  loss  of  an  earnest  helper  and  most  devoted 
friend. 

"  Resolved,  That  her  exceeding  kindness,  her  en- 
larged charity,  her  absolute  unselfishness,  her  wonder- 
ful patience,  her  cordial  recognition  of  every  good 
word  and  work,  endeared  her  inexpressibly  to  her 
friends ;  while  her  genius  commanded  the  warmest 
admiration  of  all  those  capable  of  appreciating  sweet- 
est expression  married  to  noblest  thought. 

"  Resolved,  That  her  loyalty  to  woman,  and  her  un- 
ceasing industry,  shall  incite  us  to  renewed  earnest- 
ness of  effort,  each  in  our  own  appointed  place,  to 
hasten  the  time  when  women  shall  receive  recognition 
not  only  as  honest  and  reliable  workers,  but  as  a  class 
faithful  and  true  to  each  other. 

"  Resolved,  That  in  presenting  our  heartfelt  sym- 
pathy to  the  bereaved  and  lonely  sister,  we  add  the 
loving  hope,  that  even  as  the  shadows  have  been 
swept  from  the  bright,  upward  pathway  of  the  de- 
parted spirit,  they  may  also  be  dispelled  from  her  sor- 
rowing heart,  by  an  abiding  faith  in  that  Love  which 
ordereth  all  things  well." 

Rev.  Henry  M.  Field,  long  a  kind  friend  to  both 
sisters,  in  a  sketch  of  Alice  in  the  "  New  York  Evan- 
gelist," thus  referred  both  to  Mr.  Greeley  and  the 
funeral  of  Alice  :  — 


154  ALICE   AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  No  wonder  Mr.  Greeley  felt  so  deeply  the  death 
of  one  who  had  been  to  him  as  a  sister,  that  he  fol- 
lowed so  tenderly  at  her  bier,  and  in  spite  of  the  ter- 
rible snow-storm  that  was  raging,  insisted  on  following 
her  remains  to  Greenwood,  determined  not  to  leave 
them  till  they  were  laid  in  their  last  resting-place. 
She  was  buried  on  Tuesday,  amid  one  of  the  most 
violent  storms  of  the  winter.  It  seems  sad  to  leave 
one  we  love  in  such  desolation.  But  the  storms  can- 
not disturb  her  repose.  There  let  her  sleep,  sweet, 
gentle  spirit,  child  of  nature  and  of  song.  The  spring 
will  come,  and  the  grass  grow  green  on  her  grave,  and 
the  flowers  bloom,  emblems  of  the  resurrection  unto 
life  everlasting." 


•  ••   ' 


FHCEBE  CARY  THE  WRITER.  255 


CHAPTER   IX. 

PHCEBE   CARY. — THE   WRITER. 

No  singer  was  ever  more  thoroughly  identified  with 
her  own  songs  than  Phoebe  Cary.  With  but  few  ex- 
ceptions, they  distilled  the  deepest  and  sweetest  music 
of  her  soul.  They  uttered,  besides,  the  cheerful  phi- 
losophy which  life  had  taught  her,  and  the  sunny  faith 
which  lifted  her  out  of  the  dark  region  of  doubt  an  1 
fear,  to  rest  forever  in  the  loving  kindness  of  her 
Heavenly  Father.  There  were  few  things  that  she 
ever  wrote  for  which  she  cared  more  personally  than 
for  her  "  Woman's  Conclusions."  The  thought  and  the 
regret  came  to  her  sometimes,  as  they  do  to  most  of 
us,  that  in  the  utmost  sense  her  life  was  incomplete  — 
unfulfilled.  Often  and  long  she  pondered  on  this 
phase  of  existence  ;  and  her  "  Woman's  Conclusions," 
copied  below,  were  in  reality  her  final  conclusions  con- 
cerning that  problem  of  human  fate  which  has  baffled 
so  many. 

A   WOMAN'S   CONCLUSIONS. 

I  said,  if  I  might  go  back  again 

To  the  very  hour  and  place  of  my  birth  ; 

Might  have  my  life  whatever  I  chose, 
And  live  it  in  any  part  of  the  earth  ; 


l$6  .      ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   GARY, 

Put  perfect  sunshine  into  my  sky, 

Banish  the  shadow  of  sorrow  and  doubt  j 

Have  all  my  happiness  multiplied, 
And  all  my  suffering  stricken  out ; 

If  I  could  have  known,  in  the  years  now  gone, 
The  best  that  a  woman  comes  to  know ; 

Could  have  had  whatever  will  make  her  blest, 
Or  whatever  she  thinks  will  make  her  so ; 

Have  found  the  highest  and  purest  bliss 
That  the  bridal-wreath  and  ring  inclose ; 

And  gained  the  one  out  of  all  the  world, 
That  my  heart  as  well  as  my  reason  chose ; 

And  if  this  had  been,  and  I  stood  to-night 
By  my  children,  lying  asleep  in  their  beds, 

And  could  count  in  my  prayers,  for  a  rosary, 
The  shining  row  of  their  golden  heads  ; 

Yea !  I  said,  if  a  miracle  such  as  this 

Could  be  wrought  for  me,  at  my  bidding,  still 

I  would  choose  to  have  my  past  as  it  is, 
And  to  let  my  future  come  as  it  will ! 

I  would  not  make  the  path  I  have  trod 

More  pleasant  or  even,  more  straight  or  wide ; 

Nor  change  my  course  the  breadth  of  a  hair, 
This  way  or  that  way,  to  either  side. 

My  past  is  mine,  and  I  take  it  all ; 

Its  weakness  —  its  folly,  if  you  please  ; 
Nay,  even  my  sins,  if  you  come  to  that, 

May  have  been  my  helps,  not  hindrances ! 


"A  woman's  conclusions:'  157 

If  I  saved  my  body  from  the  flames 

Because  that  once  I  had  burned  my  hand : 

Or  kept  myself  from  a  greater  sin 

By  doing  a  less  —  you  will  understand  ; 

It  was  better  I  suffered  a  little  pain, 

Better  I  sinned  for  a  little  time, 
If  the  smarting  warned  me  back  from  death, 

And  the  sting  of  sin  withheld  from  crime. 

Who  knows  its  strength,  by  trial,  will  know 
What  strength  must  be  set  against  a  sin  ; 

And  how  temptation  is  overcome 

He  has  learned,  who  has  felt  its  power  within  1 

And  who  knows  how  a  life  at  the  last  may  show  ? 

Why,  look  at  the  moon  from  where  we  stand  1 
Opaque,  uneven,  you  say  j  yet  it  shines, 

A  luminous  sphere,  complete  and  grand. 

So  let  my  past  stand,  just  as  it  stands, 
And  let  me  now,  as  I  may,  grow  old ; 

I  am  what  I  am,  and  my  life  for  me 

Is  the  best  —  or  it  had  not  been,  I  hold. 

The  guarded  castle,  the  lady  in  her  bower,  the  turn 
bling  sea,  tin:  shipwrecked  mariner,  were  as  real  to 
Alice  as  to  herself  when  she  yielded  to  the  luxury  of 
ballad  singing.  lint  in  l'luehe  the-  imaginative  lac 
ulty  was  less  prevailing  ;  it  rose  to  flood-tide  only  ;U" 
intervals.    The  dual  nature  which  she-  inherited  from 

her  father  and  mother  were  not  interfused,  IS  in  Alice, 
but  distinct  and  keenly  defined       Through  one  nature, 


158  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Phoebe  Cary  was  the  most  literal  of  human  beings 
Never  did  there  live  such  a  disenchanter.  Hold  up  to 
her,  in  her  literal,  every-day  mood,  your  most  precious 
dream,  and  in  an  instant,  by.  a  -single  rapier  of  a  sen- 
tence, she  would  thrust  it  through,  and  strip  it  of  the  last 
vestige  of  glamour,  and  you  would  see  nothing  before 
you  but  a  cold,  staring  fact,  ridiculous  or  dismal.  It 
was  this  tenacious  grip  on  reality,  this  keen  sense  of 
the  ludicrous  in  the  relation  between  words  and  things, 
which  made  her  the  most  spontaneous  of  punsters, 
and  a  very  queen  of  parodists.  Her  parodies  are  un- 
surpassed. An  example  of  this  literal  faculty  by 
which  she  could  instantaneously  transmute  a  spiritual 
emotion  into  a  material  fact,  is  found  in  a  verse  from 
her  parody  on  Longfellow's  beautiful  lyric  :  — 

"  I  see  the  lights  of  the  village 

Gleam  through  the  rain  and  mist, 
And  a  feeling  of  sadness  comes  o'er  me, 

That  my  soul  cannot  resist ; 
A  feeling  of  sadness  and  longing 

That  is  not  akin  to  pain, 
And  resembles  sorrow  only 

As  the  mist  resembles  rain." 

Phoebe  preserves  all  the  sadness  and  tenderness  of 
the  original,  while  she  transfers  it  without  effort  from 
the  psychological  yearning  of  the  soul,  into  the  region 
of  physical  necessity,  from  heart-longing  to  stomach- 
longing,  in  the  travesty  :  — 

"  I  see  the  lights  of  the  baker 

Gleam  through  the  rain  and  mist, 
And  a  feeling  of  something  comes  o'er  me, 
That  my  steps  cannot  resist ; 


PHCEBES  PARODIES.  159 

A  feeling  of  something  like  longing, 

And  slightly  akin  to  pain, 
That  resembles  hunger  more  than 

The  mist  resembles  rain." 

"  Maud  Muller  "  is  one  of  the  most  sentimental  as  well 
as  one  of  the  most  exquisite  of  modern  ballads,  yet 
what  it  prompts  in  Phcebe  is  not  a  tear  for  the  faded 
woman  sitting  under  the  chimney  log,  nor  a  sigh  for 
the  judge  who  wholly  deserves  his  fate,  nor  even  an 
alas  !  for  the  "  might  have  been."  It  prompts  in  her, 
as  the  most  natural  antithesis  in  the  world, — 

KATE  KETCHEM. 

Kate  Ketchem  on  a  winter's  night 
Went  to  a  party  dressed  in  white. 

He"r  chignon  in  a  net  of  gold 

Was  about  as  large  as  they  ever  sold. 

Gayly  she  went,  because  her  "  pap  " 
Was  supposed  to  be  a  rich  old  chap. 

But  when  by  chance  her  glances  fell 
On  a  friend  who  had  lately  married  well, 

Her  spirits  sunk,  and  a  vague  unrest 

And  a  nameless  longing  filled  her  breast  — 

A  wish  she  wouldn't  have  had  made  known, 
To  have  an  establishment  of  her  own. 

Tom  Fudge  came  slowly  through  the  throng, 
With  chestnut  hair,  worn  pretty  long. 


I  bo  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

He  saw  Kate  Ketchem  in  the  crowd, 

And  knowing  her  slightly,  stopped  and  bowed  ; 

Then  asked  her  to  give  him  a  single  flower, 
Saying  he'd  think  it  a  priceless  dower. 

#■ 
Out  from  those  with  which  she  was  decked, 

She  took  the  poorest  she  could  select, 

And  blushed  as  she  gave  it,  looking  down 
To  call  attention  to  her  gown. 

u  Thanks,"  said  Fudge,  and  he  thought  how  dear 
Flowers  must  be  at  that  time  of  year. 

Then  several  charming  remarks  he  made, 
Asked  if  she  sang,  or  danced,  or  played  ; 

And  being  exhausted,  inquired  whether 

She  thought  it  was  going  to  be  pleasant  weather. 

And  Kate  displayed  her  "jewelry," 
And  dropped  her  lashes  becomingly ; 

And  listened,  with  no  attempt  to  disguise 
The  admiration  in  her  eyes. 

At  last,  like  one  who  has  nothing  to  say, 
He  turned  around  and  walked  away. 

Kate  Ketchem  smiled,  and  said,  "You  bet 
I'll  catch  that  Fudge  and  his  money  yet. 


KATE  KETCHEM.  l6l 

"  He's  rich  enough  to  keep  me  in  clothes. 
And  I  think  I  could  manage  him  as  I  chose. 

"  He  could  aid  my  father  as  well  as  not, 
And  buy  my  brother  a  splendid  yacht. 

"  My  mother  for  money  should  never  fret, 
And  all  it  cried  for,  the  baby  should  get. 

"  And  after  that,  with  what  he  could  spare, 
I'd  make  a  show  at  a  charity  fair." 

Tom  Fudge  looked  back  as  he  crossed  the  sill, 
And  saw  Kate  Ketchem  standing  still. 

"A  girl  more  suited  to  my  mind 
It  isn't  an  easy  thing  to  find  ; 

"  And  everything  that  she  has  to  wear 
Proves  her  rich  as  she  is  fair. 

"Would  she  were  mine,  and  I  to-day 
Had  the  old  man's  cash  my  debts  to  pay  I 

"  No  creditors  with  a  long  account, 
No  tradesmen  wanting  '  that  little  amount  ;' 

*  But  all  my  scores  paid  up  when  due 
By  a  father-in-law  as  rich  as  a  Jew!  " 

But  he  thought  of  her  brother  not  worth  a  straw 
And  her  mother,  that  would  be  his,  in  law  ; 


r62  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

So,  undecided,  he  walked  along, 

And  Kate  was  left  alone  in  the  throng. 

But  a  lawyer  smiled,  whom  he  sought  by  stealth, 
To  ascertain  old  Ketchem's  wealth  ; 

And  as  for  Kate,  she  schemed  and  planned 
Till  one  of  the  dancers  claimed  her  hand. 

He  married  her  for  her  father's  cash  ; 
She  married  him  to  cut  a  dash. 

But  as  to  paying  his  debts,  do  you  know, 
The  father  couldn't  see  it  so  ; 

And  at  hints  for  help,  Kate's  hazel  eyes 
Looked  out  in  their  innocent  surprise. 

And  when  Tom  thought  of  the  way  he  had  wed, 
He  longed  for  a  single  life  instead, 

And  closed  his  eyes  in  a  sulky  mood, 
Regretting  the  days  of  his  bachelorhood  ; 

And  said,  in  a  sort  of  reckless  vein, 
"  I'd  like  to  see  her  catch  me  again, 

"  If  I  were  free,  as  on  that  night 
When  I  saw  Kate  Ketchem  dressed  in  white ! " 

She  wedded  him  to  be  rich  and  gay ; 
But  husband  and  children  didn't  pay. 


KATE  KETCHEM.  163 

He  wasn't  the  prize  she  hoped  to  draw, 
And  wouldn't  live  with  his  mother-in-law. 


And  oft  when  she  had  to  coax  and  pout, 
In  order  to  get  him  to  take  her  out, 

She  thought  how  very  attentive  and  bright 
He  seemed  at  the  party  that  winter's  night ; 

Of  his  laugh,  as  soft  as  a  breeze  of  the  south 
('Twas  now  on  the  other  side  of  his  mouth)  ; 

How  he  praised  her  dress  and  gems  in  his  talk. 
As  he  took  a  careful  account  of  stock. 

Sometimes  she  hated  the  very  walls  — 
Hated  her  friends,  her  dinners,  and  calls  ; 

Till  her  weak  affection,  to  hatred  turned, 
Like  a  dying  tallow-candle  burned. 

And  for  him  who  sat  there,  her  peace  to  mar, 
Smoking  his  everlasting  cigar  — 

He  wasn't  the  man  she  thought  she  saw, 
And  grief  was  duty,  and  hate  was  law. 

So  she  took  up  her  burden  with  a  groan, 
Saying  only,  "  I  might  have  known  !  " 

Alas  for  Kate  !  and  alas  for  Fudge  ! 
Though  I  do  not  owe  them  any  grudge  ; 


164  ALICE  AND  PHCEBB  CARY. 

And  alas  for  any  who  find  to  their  shame 
That  two  can  play  at  their  little  game  1 

For  of  all  hard  things  to  bear  and  grin, 
The  hardest  is  knowing  you're  taken  in. 

Ah,  well,  as  a  general  thing,  we  fret 
About  the  one  we  didn't  get ; 

But  I  think  we  needn't  make  a  fuss, 
If  the  one  we  don't  want  didn't  get  us. 

Her  dual  nature  is  strikingly  illustrated  in  many  of 
her  poems.  Purely  naturalistic  in  their  conception,  as 
they  rise  they  are  touched  and  glorified  with  the  super- 
natural. It  does  not  blend  with  the  essence  of  her 
song,  while  that  of  Alice  is  all  suffused  with  it.  The 
form  and  flavor  of  the  latter's  verse  is  often  mystical. 
Her  sympathies  are  deeply  human,  her  love  of  nature 
a  passion ;  yet  it  is  the  psychical  sense  which  im- 
presses her  most  deeply  in  all  natural  and  human 
phenomena.  Phoebe  has  little  of  this  exquisite  pan- 
theism. It  is  not  the  soul  in  nature  which  she  in- 
stinctively feels  first ;  it  is  its  association  with  human 
experiences.  The  field,  the  wood,  the  old  garden,  the 
swallows  under  the  eaves,  the  cherry-tree  on  the  roof 
—  she  never  wearies  of  going  back  to  them  ;  all  are 
precious  to  her  for  their  personal  remembrances.  It 
is  while  she  broods  over  the  past,  while  the  tenderest 
memories  of  her  life  come  thronging  back  into  her 
heart,  that  the  muse  of  Phcebe  Cary  rises  to  its  finest 
and  sweetest  strains.  With  a  less  subtle  fancy  than 
A.lice,  a   less  suffusive   and    delicate   imagination  in 


DRAMA  TIC  PO  WER.  1 65 

embodying  human  passion,  she  has  a  dramatic  force 
often,  which  her  sister  seldom  manifests.  The  lyric 
rush  in  Alice  comes  with  the  winds  and  waves ;  it 
sings  of  nature's  moods,  interprets  nature's  voices  j  in 
her  utterance  of  human  experience  it  is  the  tender, 
the  plaintive,  the  pathetic,  which  prevail.  The 
dramatic  instinct  in  Phoebe  kindles  in  depicting 
human  passion,  and  rises  with  exultant  lyrical  ring  as 
if  it  were  so  strong  within  her  that  it  would  be  uttered. 
Thus  some  of  her  ballads  are  powerful  in  conception, 
and  wonderfully  dramatic  in  expression.  The  finest 
example  of  this  we  have  in  her  "  Prairie  Lamp,"  a 
poem  full  of  tragic  energy.  What  a  rhvthmic  swell 
we  feel  through  these  lines  :  — 

"  *  And  hark  !  there  is  something  strange  about, 
For  my  dull  old  blood  is  stirred  ; 
That  wasn't  the  feet  of  the  storm  without, 
Nor  the  voice  of  the  storm  I  heard ! 

'*  *  'Tis  my  boy  !  he  is  coming  home,  he  is  near, 
Or  I  could  not  hear  him  pass  ; 
For  his  step  is  as  light  as  the  step  of  the  deer 
On  the  velvet  prairie  grass.' 
......... 

"  She  rose  —  she  stood  erect,  serene  ; 
She  swiftly  crossed  the  floor, 
And  the  hand  of  the  wind,  or  a  hand  unseen, 
Threw  open  wide  the  door. 

"  Through  the  portal  rushed  the  cruel  blast, 
With  a  trail  Oil  its  awful  swell  ; 
As  she  cried,  '  My  boy,  you  have  come  at  last,' 
And  prone  o'er  the  threshold  fell. 


1 66  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  And  the  stranger  heard  no  other  sound, 
And  saw  no  form  appear ; 
But  whoever  came  at  midnight  found 
Her  lamp  was  burning  clear  !  "  . 

"  The  Lady  Jaqueline,"  one  of  the  very  finest  of  hei 
ballads,  expresses  a  quality  characteristic  of  herself. 
It  is  full  of  personal  fire,  and  yet  in  utterance  it  has  the 
quaintness  and  sonorousness  of  an  old  ballad  master. 

"  False  and  fickle,  or  fair  and  sweet, 

I  care  not  for  the  rest, 
The  lover  that  knelt  last  night  at  my  feet 

Was  the  bravest  and  the  best ; 
Let  them  perish  all,  for  their  power  has  waned, 

And  their  glory  waxed  dim  ; 
They  were  well  enough  when  they  lived  and  reigned, 

But  never  was  one  like  him ! 
And  never  one  from  the  past  would  I  bring 

Again,  and  call  him  mine  ; 
The  King  is  dead>  long  live  the  King! 

Said  the  Lady  Jaqueline." 

Nothing  could  be  more  dramatic  than  this  gradation 
from  exultation  in  the  new,  to  a  yet  tender  remem- 
brance of  the  old. 

"  And  yet  it  almost  makes  me  weep, 

Aye  !  weep,  and  cry,  alas  ! 
When  I  think  of  one  who  lies  asleep 

Down  under  the  quiet  grass. 
For  he  loved  me  well,  and  I  loved  again, 

And  low  in  homage  bent, 


1 


DRAMA  TIC  PO  WER.  167 

And  prayed  for  his  long  and  prosperous  reign, 

In  our  realm  of  sweet  content. 
But  not  to  the  dead  may  the  living  cling, 

Nor  kneel  at  an  empty  shrine  j 
The  King  is  dead,  long  live  the  King  I 

Said  the  Lady  Jaqueline. 

u  Yea,  all  my  lovers  and  kings  that  were 

Are  dead,  and  hid  away 
In  the  past,  as  in  a  sepulchre, 

Shut  up  till  the  judgment  day. 
False  or  fickle,  or  weak  or  wed, 

They  are  all  alike  to  me ; 
And  mine  eyes  no  more  can  be  misled, 

They  have  looked  on  royalty  ! 
Then  bring  me  wine,  and  garlands  bring 

For  my  king  of  the  right  divine  ; 
The  King  is  dead,  lo?ig  live  the  King  / 

Said  the  Lady  Jaqueline." 

Equally  powerful  is  she  in  the  expression  of  per- 
sonal experience.  Her  friend  Dr.  Deems  said  that 
it  always  took  his  breath  away  to  read  her 

DEAD   LOVE. 

We  are  face  to  face,  and  between  us  here 
Is  the  love  we  thought  could  never  die  ; 

Why  has  it  only  lived  a  year  ? 

Who  has  murdered  it  —  you  or  I? 

No  matter  who  —  the  deed  was  done 
By  one  or  both,  and  there  it  lies  ; 


1 68  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

The  smile  from  the  lip  forever  gone, 
And  darkness  over  the  beautiful  eyes. 

Our  love  is  dead,  and  our  hope  is  wrecked  ; 

So  what  does  it  profit  to  talk  and  rave, 
Whether  it  perished  by  my  neglect, 

Or  whether  your  cruelty  dug  its  grave  ! 

Why  should  you  say  that  I  am  to  blame, 
Or  why  should  I  charge  the  sin  on  you  ? 

Our  work  is  before  us  all  the  same, 
And  the  guilt  of  it  lies  between  us  two. 

We  have  praised  our  love  for  its  beauty  and  grace  ; 

Now  we  stand  here,  and  hardly  dare 
To  turn  the  face-cloth  back  from  the  face, 

And  see  the  thins:  that  is  hidden  there. 


*& 


Yet  look  !  ah,  that  heart  has  beat  its  last, 
And  the  beautiful  life  of  our  life  is  o'er, 

And  when  we  have  buried  and  left  the  past, 
We  two,  together,  can  walk  no  more. 

You  might  stretch  yourself  on  the  dead,  and  weep, 
And  pray  as  the  Prophet  prayed,  in  pain ; 

But  not  like  him  could  you  break  the  sleep, 
And  bring  the  soul  to  the  clay  again. 

Its  head  in  my  bosom  I  can  lay, 

And  shower  my  woe  there,  kiss  on  kiss, 

But  there  never  was  resurrection-day 
In  the  world  for  a  love  so  dead  as  this  1 


LOVE  POEMS.  169 

And,  since  we  cannot  lessen  the  sin 
By  mourning  over  the  deed  we  did, 

Let  us  draw  the  winding-sheet  up  to  the  chin, 
Aye,  up  till  the  death-blind  eyes  are  hid  ! 

No  American  poet  has  ever  shown  more  passion, 
pathos,  and  tenderness  combined,  than  we  find  em- 
bodied in  many  of  the  minor  love  poems  of  Phcebe 
Cary.  Not  only  the  "  Dead  Love,"  but  the  little  poem 
which  follows,  is  an  example  of  these  qualities. 

ALAS! 

Since,  if  you  stood  by  my  side  to-day, 

Only  our  hands  could  meet, 
What  matter  if  half  the  weary  world 

Lies  out  between  our  feet  ? 

That  I  am  here  by  the  lonesome  sea, 

You  by  the  pleasant  Rhine  ? 
Our  hearts  were  just  as  far  apart, 

If  I  held  your  hand  in  mine  ! 

Therefore,  with  never  a  backward  glance, 

I  leave  the  past  behind  ; 
And  standing  here  by  the  sea  alone, 

I  give  it  to  the  wind. 

I  give  it  all  to  the  cruel  wind, 

And  I  have  no  word  to  say  ; 
Yet,  alas !  to  be  as  we  have  been, 

And  to  be  as  we  are  to-day ! 


170  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

The  literal  quality  of  Phoebe's  mind  showed  itself 
in  her  undoubting  faith  in  spiritual  communion,  as  it 
did  in  everything  else.     She  would   remark,  "  I  think 

just  came  into    the  room  ;  I   feel    her    presence 

as  distinctly  as  I  do  yours,"  speaking  of  one  who  long 
before  had  passed  into  spirit  life.  She  "knew  that 
the  dead  came  back,"  she  said,  "just  as  she  knew  that 
she  thought,  or  saw,  or  knew  anything  else."  It  was 
simply  a  fact  which  she  stated  literally  and  unexcitedly 
as  she  would  any  other.  "  It  was  not  any  more  won- 
derful to  her,"  she  said,  "that  she  could  see  and  per- 
ceive with  her  soul,  than  that  she  was  able  to  discern 
objects  through  her  eyeballs."  Never  were  any  words 
which  she  uttered  more  literally  true  to  her  than 
these :  — 

"  The  veil  of  flesh  that  hid 
Is  softly  drawn  aside  ; 
More  dearly  I  behold  them  ?iow, 
Than  those  who  never  died." 

Nor  must  this  simple  faith  of  these  sisters  in  com- 
munion with  spirits  be  confounded  with  any  mere 
modern  delusion.  They  inherited  this  belief  from 
their  parents.  There  had  been  no  moment  in  their 
conscious  existence,  when  they  did  not  believe  in  this 
New  Testament  faith,  that  the  dead  are  ministering 
spirits  sent  forth  of  God,  to  the  heirs  of  salvation. 
Never  did  woman  live  possessed  of  a  more  sturdy 
common  sense  than  Phoebe  Cary.  Nevertheless  she 
spoke  constantly  of  sympathy  and  communion  with 
those  whom  death  had  taken,  precisely  as  she  spoke 
of  intercourse  with  the  living.  To  her,  life  held  no 
verity  more  blessed  than  this  which  finds  expression 
in  her 


SPIRITUAL  POEMS  Ifl 


BORDER-LAND. 


I  know  you  are  always  by  my  side, 

And  I  know  you  love  me,  Winifred,  dear; 
For  I  never  called  on  you  since  you  died, 
But  you  answered  tenderly,  I  am  here  ! 

So  come  from  the  misty  shadows,  where 
You  came  last  night  and  the  night  before ; 

Put  back  the  veil  of  your  golden  hair, 
And  let  me  look  in  your  face  once  more. 

Ah  !  it  is  you  ;  with  that  brow  of  truth, 
Ever  too  pure  for  the  least  disguise ; 

With  the  same  dear  smile  on  the  loving  mouth, 
And  the  same  sweet  light  in  the  tender  eyes. 

You  are  my  own,  my  darling  still ; 

So  do  not  vanish  or  turn  aside  ; 
Wait  till  my  eyes  have  had  their  fill, 

Wait  till  my  heart  is  pacified  ! 

You  have  left  the  light  of  your  higher  place ; 

And  ever  thoughtful,  and  kind,  and  good, 
You  come  with  your  old  familiar  face, 

And  not  with  the  look  of  your  angel-hood. 

Still  the  touch  of  your  hand  is  soft  and  light, 
And  your  voice  is  gentle,  and  kind,  and  low  ; 

And  the  very  roses  you  wear  to-night 
You  wore  in  the  summers  long  ago. 


172  ALICE  AND  PBCEBE   CARY. 

O  World  !  you  may  tell  me  I  dream  or  rave, 
So  long  as  my  darling  comes  to  prove 

That  the  feet  of  the  spirit  cross  the  grave, 
And  the  loving  live,  and  the  living  love !  " 

Perhaps  the  utterances  of  her  soul  which  have 
most  deeply  impressed  others,  and  by  which  she  will 
be  longest  remembered,  are  her  religious  poems. 
They  are  among  the  rarest  in  the  English  tongue,  as 
felicitous  in  utterance  as  they  are  devout  and  helpful 
in  spirit.  It  is  the  soul  of  their  melody,  more  than 
the  melody  itself,  which  makes  us  glad.  It  is  the 
faith  in  the  good,  visible  and  invisible  ;  the  lark-like 
hope  that  soars  and  sings  so  high  with  such  sponta- 
neity of  delight  j  the  love  brooding  over  the  lowliest 
things,  yet  yearning  out  toward  God's  eternities,  rest- 
ing in  his  love  at  last,  which  make  the  inspiration  of 
all  these  hymns. 

Hers  was  a  loving  and  a  believing  soul.  Day  by 
day  she  walked  with  God.  In  no  hour  was  He  far 
from  her.  As  natural  as  to  breathe  was  it  for  her  to 
lift  her  heart  to  the  heart  of  all-embracing  Love, 
whether  she  sat  in  her  chamber  alone,  or  went  forth  to 
meet  Him  in  the  outer  world.  From  her  hymns  we 
take  in  the  tonic  of  a  healthy,  hearty,  happy  soul. 
Like  the  simples  which  we  draw  forth  from  nature's 
soil,  they  are  full  of  savor  and  healing.  How  we  feel 
these  in  her 

FIELD  PREACHING. 

I  have  been  out  to-day  in  field  and  wood, 
Listening  to  praises  sweet,  and  counsel  good, 


RELIGIOUS  POEMS.  1 73 

Such  as  a  little  child  had  understood, 

That,  in  its  tender  youth, 
Discerns  the  simple  eloquence  of  truth. 

The  modest  blossoms,  crowding  round  my  way, 
Though  they  had  nothing  great  or  grand  to  say, 
Gave  out  their  fragrance  to  the  wind  all  day ; 

Because  his  loving  breath, 
With  soft  persistence,  won  them  back  from  death. 

The  stately  maize,  a  fair  and  goodly  sight, 

With  serried  spear-points  bristling  sharp  and  bright 

Shook  out  his  yellow  tresses,  for  delight, 

To  all  their  tawny  length, 
Like  Samson,  glorying  in  his  lusty  strength. 

And  every  little  bird  upon  the  tree, 
Ruffling  his  plumage  bright,  for  ecstacy, 
Sang  in  the  wild  insanity  of  glee  ; 

And  seemed,  in  the  same  lays, 
Calling  his  mate,  and  uttering  songs  of  praise. 

The  golden  grasshopper  did  chirp  and  sing ; 
The  plain  bee,  busy  with  her  housekeeping, 
Kept  humming  cheerfully  upon  the  wing, 

As  if  she  understood 
That,  with  contentment,  labor  was  a  good. 

I  saw  each  creature,  in  his  own  best  place, 
To  the  Creator  lift  a  smiling  face, 
Praising  continually  his  wondrous  grace; 

As  if  the  best  of  all 
Life's  countless  blessings  was  to  live  at  all  I 


174  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

So,  with  a  book  of  sermons,  plain  and  true, 

Hid  in  my  heart,  where  I  might  turn  them  through; 

I  went  home  softly,  through  the  falling  dew, 

Still  listening,  rapt  and  calm, 
To  Nature  giving  out  her  evening  psalm. 

While,  far  along  the  west,  mine  eyes  discerned, 
Where,  lit  by  God,  the  fires  of  sunset  burned, 
The  tree-tops,  unconsumed,  to  flame  were  turned ; 

And  I,  in  that  great  hush, 
Talked  with  his  angels  in  each  burning  bush ! 

The  hymn  of  Phoebe  Cary,  by  which  she  is  most 
widely  known  is  her 

NEARER  HOME. 

One  sweetly  solemn  thought 

Comes  to  me  o'er  and  o'er; 
I  am  nearer  home  to-day 

Than  I  ever  have  been  before  ; 

Nearer  my  Father's  house, 

Where  the  many  mansions  be ; 

Nearer  the  great  white  throne, 
Nearer  the  crystal  sea ; 

Nearer  the  bound  of  life, 

Where  we  lay  our  burdens  down  ; 

Nearer  leaving  the  cross, 
Nearer  gaining  the  crown 

But  lying  darkly  between, 

Winding  down  through  the  night, 


"NEARER   HOMEr  175 

Is  the  silent,  unknown  stream, 
That  leads  at  last  to  the  light. 

Closer  and  closer  my  steps 
Come  to  the  dread  abysm : 

Closer  Death  to  my  lips 
Presses  the  awful  chrism. 

O,  if  my  mortal  feet 

Have  almost  gained  the  brink  ; 
If  it  be  I  am  nearer  home 

Even  to-day  than  I  think  j 

Father,  perfect  my  trust  j 

Let  my  spirit  feel  in  death 
That  her  feet  are  firmly  set 

On  the  rock  of  a  living  faith  ! 

Yet  like  Alice  with  her  "  Pictures  of  Memory,"  she 
did  not  set  a  high  intellectual  value  upon  it.  Until 
w  thin  a  year  or  two  of  her  death  she  was  not  conscious 
of  its  universal  popularity.  Before  that  time  this  lovely 
pilgrim  of  a  hymn  had  wandered  over  the  world,  paus- 
ing at  many  thresholds,  filling  with  "  sweetly  solemn 
thoughts"  how  many  Christian  hearts  !  It  had  been 
printed  on  Sabbath-school  cards,  embodied  in  books 
of  sacred  song,  pasted  into  scrap-books,  read  with  tear- 
ful eves  by  patient  invalids  in  twilight  sick-chambers, 
and  by  brave;  yet  tender  souls  at  their  heyday,  on 
whose  wistful  eyea  faint  visions  of  their  immortal  home 
must  sometimes  dawn,  even  amid  the  dimness  of  this 
clouded  wor/.l. 

Within  the  last  year  of  her  life,  Phoebe  heard  of  ar 


176  ALICE  A  ATI?  PHCEBE   CARY. 

incident  connected  with  this  hymn,  which  made  hei 
happier  while  she  lived. 

"  A  gentleman  in  China,  intrusted  with  packages  foi 
a  young  man  from  his  friends  in  the  United  States, 
learned  that  he  would  probably  be  found  in  a  certain 
gambling-house.  He  went  thither,  but  not  seeing  the 
young  man,  sat  down  and  waited,  in  the  hope  that  he 
might  come  in.  The  place  was  a  bedlam  of  noises, 
men  getting  angry  over  their  cards,  and  frequently 
coming  to  blows.  Near  him  sat  two  men  —  one  young, 
the  other  forty  years  of  age.  They  were  betting  and 
drinking  in  a  terrible  way,  the  older  one  giving  utter- 
ance continually  to  the  foulest  profanity.  Two  games 
had  been  finished,  the  young  man  losing  each  time. 
The  third  game,  with  fresh  bottles  of  brandy,  had  just 
begun,  and  the  young  man  sat  lazily  back  in  his  chair 
while  the  oldest  shuffled  his  cards.  The  man  was  a 
long  time  dealing  the  cards,  and  the  young  man,  look- 
ing carelessly  about  the  room,  began  to  hum  a  tune. 
He  went  on,  till  at  length  he  began  to  sing  the  hymn 
of  Phcebe  Cary,  above  quoted.  The  words,"  says  the 
writer  of  the  story,  "  repeated  in  such  a  vile  place,  at 
first  made  me  shudder.  A  Sabbath-school  hymn  in  a 
gambling  den  !  But  while  the  young  man  sang,  the 
elder  stopped  dealing  the  cards,  stared  at  the  singer 
a  moment,  and,  throwing  the  cards  on  the  floor, 
exclaimed,  — 

"  '  Harry,  where  did  you  learn  that  tune  ? ' 

"  <  What  tune  ? ' 

"  '  Why,  that  one  you've  been  singing.' 

"  The  young  man  said  he  did  not  know  what  he  had 
been  singing,  when  the  elder  repeated  the  words,  with 


THE  STORY  OF  A   HYMN:  1 77 

tears   in  his   eyes,  and   the  young  man   said    he    had 
learned  them  in  a  Sunday-school  in  America. 

"  '  Come,'  said  the  elder,  getting  up  ;  '  come,  Harry  ; 
here's  what  I  won  from  you  ;  go  and  use  it  for  some 
good  purpose.  As  for  me,  as  God  sees  me,  I  have 
played  my  last  game,  and  drank  my  last  bottle.  I  have 
misled  you,  Harry,  and  I  am  sorry.  Give  me  your 
hand,  my  boy,  and  say  that,  for  old  America's  sake,  if 
for  no  other,  you  will  quit  this  infernal  business.'  " 

The  gentleman  who  tells  the  story  (originally  pub- 
lished in  "  The  Boston  Daily  News  ")  saw  these  two 
men  leave  the  gambling-house  together,  and  walk  away 
arm  in  arm  ;  and  he  remarks,  "  It  must  be  a  source 
of  great  joy  to  Miss  Cary  to  know  that  her  lines,  which 
have  comforted  so  many  Christian  hearts,  have  been 
the  means  of  awakening  in  the  breast  of  two  tempted 
and  erring  men  on  the  other  side  of  the  globe,  a  reso- 
lution to  lead  a  better  life." 

It  was  a  "  great  joy  "  to  the  writer.  In  a  private 
letter  to  an  aged  friend  in  New  York,  with  the  story 
inclosed,  she  added  :  — 

"  I  inclose  the  hymn  and  the  story  for  you,  not 
because  I  am  vain  of  the  notice,  but  because  I  thought 
you  would  feel  a  peculiar  interest  in  them  when  you 
know  the  hymn  was  written  eighteen  years  ago  (1852) 
in  your  house.  I  composed  it  in  the  little  back  third 
story  bedroom,  one  Sunday  morning,  after  coming 
from  church  ;  and  it  makes  me  very  happy  to  think 
that  any  word  I  could  say  has  done  a  little  good  in  the 
world." 

After   the   death  of  Phcebe,  the   following   letter  was 
received  at  the  u  NTew  York  Tribune  "  office. 
12 


178  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 


SEQUEL  TO  THE  GAMBLERS'  STORY. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Tribune. 

Sir:  Having  noticed  in  the  columns  of  the  "Trib- 
une" a  biographical  sketch  of  Phoebe  Cary,  which 
contained  an  incident  from  my  letters  from  China,  I 
think  that  the  sequel  to  the  story  of  "  The  Gamblers  " 
may  interest  her  many  friends. 

The  old  man  spoken  of  in  the  anecdote  has  returned 
to  California,  and  has  become  a  hard-working  Christian 
man,  while  "  Harry"  has  renounced  gambling  and  all 
its  attendant  vices.  The  incident  having  gone  the 
rounds  of  the  press,  the  old  man  saw  it,  and  finding  its 
"  credit,"  wrote  to  me  about  it.  Thus  Phcebe  Cary's 
poem,  "  One  Sweetly  Solemn  Thought,"  etc.,  has  saved 
from  ruin  at  least  two  who  seldom  or  never  entered  a 
house  of  worship.     I  am  yours, 

Russell  H.  Conwell. 

Traveller  Office,  Boston,  Aug.  9,  1871. 

In  her  latest  hymns,  although  they  express  all  the 
old  love,  all  the  old  fullness  of  faith,  we  feel  through 
them  a  vibration  of  grief,  like  one  tone  in  a  happy  voice 
quivering  with  tears.  Thus  she  cries  in  her  very  last 
hymn,  "  Resurgam  :  "  — 

"  O  mine  eyes,  be  not  so  tearful ; 
Drooping  spirit,  rise,  be  cheerful ; 
Heavy  soul,  why  art  thou  fearful  ? 

1  Nature's  sepulchre  is  breaking, 
And  the  earth,  her  gloom  forsaking, 
Into  life  and  light  is  waking. 


HYMNS   OF  FAITH.  1 79 

*  O,  the  weakness  and  the  madness 
Of  a  heart  that  holdeth  sadness 
When  all  else  is  light  and  gladness  ! 

u  Though  thy  treasure  death  hath  taken, 
They  that  sleep  are  not  forsaken, 
They  shall  hear  the  trump,  and  waken. 

"  Shall  not  He  who  life  supplieth 
To  the  dead  seed,  where  it  lieth, 
Quicken  also  man,  who  dieth  ? 

u  Yea,  the  power  of  death  was  ended 
When  He,  who  to  hell  descended, 
Rose,  and  up  to  heaven  ascended. 

u  Rise,  my  soul,  then,  from  dejection, 
See  in  nature  the  reflection 
Of  the  dear  Lord's  resurrection. 

"  Let  this  promise  leave  thee  never : 
If  the  might  of  death  I  sever, 
Ye  shall  also  live  forever  I" 

In  "  Dreams  and   Realities,"  a  poem  published  io 
■  Harper's  Bazar  "  after  Phoebe's  death,  she  exclaims 

"  If  still  they  kept  their  earthly  place, 
The  friends  I  held  in  my  embrace, 

And  gave  to  death,  :\. 
Could  I  have  learned  that  clear  calm  faith 
That  looks  beyond  the  bounds  of  death, 
And  almost  longs  to  pass  ?  " 


180  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Thus,  through  the  heavy  cloud  of  human  loss  and 
longing  the  lark-like  song  arose  into  the  very  precinct 
of  celestial  light,  sweet  with  unfaltering  faith  and 
undying  love  to  the  very  last.  The  timid  soul  that 
fainted  in  its  mortal  house  grew  reassured  and  calm, 
rising  to  the  realization  of  eternal  verities.  The 
world  is  better  because  this  woman  lived,  and  loved, 
and  believed.  She  wrote,  not  to  blazon  her  own 
being  upon  the  world,  not  to  drop  upon  the  weary 
multitude  the  weight  of  an  oppressive  personality. 
She  drew  from  the  deep  wells  of  an  unconscious  and 
overflowing  love  the  bright  waters  of  refreshment  and 
health.  Her  subtler  insight,  her  finer  intuition,  her 
larger  trust,  her  more  buoyant  hope,  are  the  world's 
helpers,  all.  The  simplest  word  of  such  a  soul  thrills 
with  an  inexpressible  life.  It  helps  to  make  us  braver, 
stronger,  more  patient,  and  more  glad.  We  fulfill  the 
lowliest  task  more  perfectly,  are  more  loyal  to  our 
duty,  more  loving  to  each  other  and  to  God,  in  the 
turmoil  of  the  world,  in  the  wearing  care  of  the  house, 
in  sorrow  as  well  as  in  joy,  if  by  a  single  word  we  are 
drawn  nearer  to  the  all-encircling  and  everlasting 
Love.  To  do  this,  as  a  writer,  was  the  mission  of 
Phcebe  Cary.  Perhaps  no  lines  which  she  has  written 
express  more  characteristically  or  perfectly  her  de- 
vout and  childlike  faith  in  a  loving  Father's  ordering 
of  her  earthly  life,  than  the  poem  which  closes  her 
"  Poems  of  Faith,  Hope,  and  Love." 

RECONCILED. 

O  years,  gone  down  into  the  past ; 
What  pleasant  memories  come  to  me. 


HYMNS   OF  FAITH.  l8l 

Of  your  untroubled  days  of  peace, 
And  hours  almost  of  ecstasy  ! 

Yet  would  I  have  no  moon  stand  still, 
Where  life's  most  pleasant  valleys  lie  ; 

Nor  wheel  the  planet  of  the  day 

Back  on  his  pathway  through  the  sky. 

For  though,  when  youthful  pleasures  died, 
My  youth  itself  went  with  them,  too  ; 

To-day,  aye !  even  this  very  hour, 
Is  the  best  time  I  ever  knew. 

Not  that  my  Father  gives  to  me 

More  blessings  than  in  days  gone  by  ; 

Dropping  in  my  uplifted  hands 

All  things  for  which  I  blindly  cry  : 

But  that  his  plans  and  purposes 

Have  grown  to  me  less  strange  and  dim ; 

And  where  I  cannot  understand, 
I  trust  the  issues  unto  Him. 

And,  spite  of  many  broken  dreams, 
This  have  I  truly  learned  to  say,  — 

The  prayers  I  thought  unanswered  once, 
Were  answered  in  God's  own  best  way. 

And  though  some  dearly  cherished  hopes 

Perished  untimely  ere  their  birth, 
Yet  have  I  been  beloved  and  blessed 

Beyond  the  measure  of  my  worth. 


t8a  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

And  sometimes  in  my  hours  of  grief, 
For  moments  I  have  come  to  stand 

Where,  in  the  sorrows  on  me  laid 
I  felt  a  loving  Father's  hand. 

And  I  have  learned  the  weakest  ones 
Are  kept  securest  from  life's  harms  ; 

And  that  the  tender  lambs  alone 
Are  carried  in  the  Shepherd's  arms. 

And  sitting  by  the  wayside  blind, 
He  is  the  nearest  to  the  light, 

Who  crieth  out  most  earnestly, 

"  Lord,  that  I  might  receive  my  sight !  ' 

O  feet,  grown  weary  as  ye  walk, 

Where  down  life's  hill  my  pathway  lies, 

What  care  I,  while  my  soul  can  mount, 
As  the  young  eagle  mounts  the  skies  ! 

O  eyes,  with  weeping  faded  out, 
What  matters  it  how  dim  ye  be  ? 

My  inner  vision  sweeps,  untired, 
The  reaches  of  eternity  ! 

O  death,  most  dreaded  power  of  all, 

When  the  last  moment  comes,  and  thou 

Darkenest  the  windows  of  my  soul, 
Through  which  I  look  on  nature  now ; 

Yea,  when  mortality  dissolves, 

Shall  I  not  meet  thine  hour  unawed  ? 

My  house  eternal  in  the  heavens 
Is  lighted  bv  the  smile  of  God  1 


PHCEBE   CARY   THE    WOMAN.  183 


CHAPTER   X. 

PHCEBE   CARY. THE    WOMAN. 

The  wittiest  woman  in  America  is  dead.  There  are 
others  who  say  many  brilliant  things ;  but  I  doubt  if 
there  is  another  so  spontaneously  and  pointedly  witty, 
in  the  sense  th'  t  Sidney  Smith  was  witty,  as  Phoebe 
Cary.  The  drawback  to  almost  everybody's  wit  and 
repartee  is  that  it  so  often  seems  premeditated.  It  is 
a  fearful  chill  to  a  laugh  to  know  that  it  is  being 
watched  for,  and  had  been  prepared  beforehand.  But 
there  was  an  absolute  charm  in  Phoebe's  wit ;  it  was 
spontaneous,  so  coruscating,  so  "  pat."  Then  it  was 
full  of  the  delight  of  a  perpetual  surprise.  She  was 
just  as  witty  at  breakfast  as  she  was  at  dinner,  and 
would  say  something  just  as  astonishingly  bright  to 
one  companion,  and  she  a  woman,  as  to  a  roomful  of 
cultivated  men,  doing  their  best  to  parry  her  flashing 
scimitars  of  speech.  Though  so  liberally  endowed 
with  the  poetic  utterance  and  insight,  she  first  beheld 
every  object  literally,  not  a  ray  of  glamour  about  it ; 
she  saw  its  practical  and  ludicrous  relations  first,  and 
from  this  absolutely  matter-of-fact  perception  came 
the  sparkling  utterance  which  saw  it,  caught  it,  played 
with  it,  and  held  it  up  in  the  same  instant.  It  is 
pleasant  to  think  of  a  friend  who  made  you  laugh  so 
many  happy  times,  but  who  never  made  you  weep. 


184  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

For  instantaneously  as  her  arrow  of  wit  came,  it 
sprung  from  too  kind  a  heart  ever  to  be  tipped  with  a 
sting.  There  was  always  a  prevailing  vein  of  good 
nature  in  her  most  satirical  or  caustic  remarks.  In- 
deed, satire  and  sarcasm  rarely  sought  vent  in  her 
glittering  speech ;  it  was  fun,  sheer  fun,  usually,  as 
kindly  innocent  in  spirit  as  it  was  ludicrous  and  brill- 
iant in  utterance.  But  a  flash  of  wit,  like  a  flash  of 
lightning,  can  only  be  remembered,  it  cannot  be  re« 
produced.  Its  very  marvel  lies  in  its  spontaneity  and 
evanescence  ;  its  power  is  in  being  struck  from  the 
present.  Divorced  from  that,  the  keenest  representa- 
tion of  it  seems  cold  and  dead.  \*  a  read  over  the 
few  remaining  sentences  which  attempt  to  embody  the 
repartees  and  bon  mots  of  the  most  famous  wits  of 
society,  such  as  Beau  Nash,  Beau  Brummel,  Madame 
Du  Deffand,  and  Lady  Mary  Montagu  ;  we  wonder  at 
the  poverty  of  these  memorials  of  their  fame.  Thus 
it  must  be  with  Phcebe  Cary.  Her  most  brilliant 
sallies  were  perfectly  unpremeditated,  and  by  herself 
never  repeated,  or  remembered.  When  she  was  in 
her  best  moods,  they  came  like  flashes  of  heat  light- 
ning, like  a  rush  of  meteors,  so  suddenly  and  con- 
stantly you  were  dazzled  while  you  were  delighted, 
and  afterward  found  it  difficult  to  single  out  any 
distinct  flash,  or  separate  meteor  from  the  multitude. 
A  niece  of  Phcebe  says  that  when  a  school-girl  she 
often  thought  of  writing  down  in  a  book  the  mar- 
velous things  which  she  heard  her  Aunt  Phcebe  say 
every  day.  Had  she  carried  out  her  resolution,  her 
book  would  now  be  the  largest  volume  of  Phcebe 
Cary's  thoughts.  As  it  is,  this  most  wonderful  of  all 
her  gifts  can  only  be  represented  bv  a  few  stray  sen 


PHCEBE   CARY'S   WIT.  185 

tences,  gleaned  here  and  there  from  the  faithful  mem- 
ories of  loving  friends  ;  each  one  invariably  adding, 
"  O,  if  I  had  only  taken  down  the  many  wonderfully 
bright  things  that  I  heard  her  say."  She  had  a  neck- 
lace made  of  different  articles  which  her  friends  had 
given  her •  from  one  there  was  a  marble,  from  another 
a  curious  nut  from  the  East,  from  another  a  piece  of 
amber,  from  another  a  ball  of  malachite  or  crystal, 
and  so  on,  till  the  necklace  consisted  of  more  than 
fifty  beads,  and,  when  open,  stretched  to  a  length  of 
nearly  four  feet. 

She  often  wore  this  necklace  on  Sunday  evenings, 
and  while  in  conversation  would  frequently  occupy  her 
fingers  in  toying  with  the  beads.  "  One  evening  a 
friend  told  her  that  she  looked,  with  her  necklace,  like 
an  Indian  princess •  she  replied  that  the  only  differ- 
ence was  that  the  Indian  had  a  string  of  scalps  in 
place  of  beads.  She  said  that  she  thought  that  the 
best  place  for  her  friends  was  to  hang  about  her  neck> 
and  with  this  belief  she  had  constructed  the  necklace, 
and  compelled  her  friends  to  join  it.  Some  of  hex 
friends  used  to  tell  her  that  she  ought  to  have  a  short* 
hand  reporter  as  a  familiar  spirit,  to  jot  down  her 
sharp  sayings,  and  give  them  out  to  the  world.  But 
she  replied  that  it  would  not  be  to  her  taste  to  be 
short-handed  down  to  fame  ;  she  preferred  the  lady 
with  the  trump,  though  she  thought  the  aforesaid  lady 
would  be  more  attractive,  and  give  a  better  name  to 
her  favorites,  if  she  dressed  in  the  costume  of  the 
period." 

A  friend  tells  how,  at  a  little  party,  where  fun  rose 
to  a  great  height,  <>ne  quiet  person  was  suddenly  at- 
tacked by  a  gay  lady  with  the  question,  "  Why  don't 
you  laugh  ?     You  sit  there  just  like*  a  post  !  " 


1 86  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE  CARY. 

"  There !  she  called  you  a  post ;  why  don't  you 
rail  at  her  ?  "  was  Phoebe's  instantaneous  exclamation. 

Another  tells  how,  at  a  dinner-table  where  wine 
flowed  Ireely,  some  one  asked  the  sisters  what  wines 
they  kept. 

"  O  !  "  said  Phoebe,  "  we  dFink  Heidsick  ;  but  we 
keep  mum.'' 

Mr.  P.  T.  Barnum  mentioned  to  her  that  the  skele- 
ton man  and  the  fat  woman,  then  on  exhibition  in  the 
city,  were  married. 

"  I  suppose  they  loved  through  thick  and  thin,"  an- 
swered Phoebe. 

"On  one  occasion,  when  Phoebe  was  at  the  Museum, 
looking  about  at  the  curiosities,"  says  Mr.  Barnum, 
"  I  preceded  her,  and  had  passed  down  a  couple  of 
steps.  She  intently  watching  a  big  anaconda  in  a  case 
at  the  top  of  the  stairs,  walked  off  (not  noticing  them), 
and  fell.  I  was  just  in  time  to  catch  her  in  my  arms, 
and  save  her  from  a  severe  bruising. 

"  '  I  am  more  lucky  than  that  first  woman  was,  who 
fell  through  the  influence  of  the  serpent,'  said  Phoebe, 
as  she  recovered  herself." 

Being  one  day  at  Wood's  Museum,  she  asked  Mr. 
Barnum  to  show  her  the  "  Infernal  Regions,"  ad- 
vertised to  be  represented  there.  On  inquiring,  he 
found  that  they  were  out  of  order,  and  said,  — 

"  The  Infernal  Regions  have  vanished  ;  but  never 
mind,  Phoebe,  you  will  see  them  in  time." 

"  No,  in  eternity,"  was  the  lightning-like  reply. 

On  one  occasion  a  certain  well-known  actor,  then 
recently  deceased,  and  more  conspicuous  for  his  pro- 
fessional skill  than  for  his  private  virtues,  was  dis- 
cussed. "  We  shall  never,"  remarked  some  one,  "  see 
again." 


PHCEBE   CARY'S    WIT.  1 87 

"  No,"  quickly  responded  Phcebe  ;  "  not  unless  we 
go  to  the  pit." 

Says  Oliver  Johnson  in  his  last  tribute  to  her,  in  the 
"  Tribune : " 

"  Her  religious  sentiments  were  deep  and  strong, 
her  faith  in  the  Eternal  Goodness  unwavering.  Edu- 
cated in  the  faith  of  Universalism,  she  believed  to 
the  last  in  the  final  salvation  of  all  God's  children. 
On  this  subject  she  spoke  to  the  writer  with  great 
distinctness  and  emphasis  only  a  few  weeks  before 
her  death  ;  and  once  she  indicated  her  faith  by 
repeating  with  approbation  the  remark  of  one  who 
said,  in  reply  to  the  argument  in  favor  of  endless 
misery,  '  Well,  if  God  ever  sends  me  into  such  misery, 
I  know  He  will  give  me  a  constitution  to  bear  it.'  " 

On  entering  a  shop  one  day,  she  asked  the  clerk  to 
show  her  a  lady's  cap.  He  understood  her  to  say  "  a 
baby's  cap." 

"  What  is  the  child's  age  ?  "  he  inquired. 

"Forty  /"  exclaimed  Phcebe,  in  a  tone  which  made 
the  young  man  jump  with  amazement. 

Among  her  papers  there  is  an  envelope  that  she  has 
left  behind,  on  which,  in  her  own  hand,  is  written  one 
word:  "Fun/"  It  is  packed  with  little  squibs  of 
rhyme  and  travesty,  evidently  written  for  her  own 
amusement,  and  thrust  here  out  of  sight,  as  unworthy 
to  be  seen  by  any  eyes  but  her  own.  But  they  are  so 
characteristic,  and  so  illustrative  of  the  quality  of  her 
mind  which  we  are  considering,  that  I  am  tempted 
to  give  two  of  them  :  not  that  either  of  the  two 
is  as  funny  as  those  left  in  the  envelope  ;  but  be- 
cause it  trenches  upon  less  pointedly  absurd  themes. 
One  is, 


l88  ALICE  AND  PffCEBE   CARY. 


MORAL  LESSONS. 

BY  AMOS  KEATER. 

How  doth  the  little  busy  flea 
Improve  each  awful  jump  ; 

And  mark  her  progress,  as  she  goes, 
By  many  an  itching  lump  ! 

How  skillfully  she  does  her  "  sell ; n 
How  neat  she  bites  our  backs, 

And  labors  hard  to  keep  her  well 
Beyond  the  reach  of  whacks  ! 

I,  too,  in  games  of  chance  and  skill, 
By  Satan  would  be  led  ; 

For  if  you're  always  sitting  still, 
You  cannot  get  ahead. 

To  lively  back-biting  and  sich, 
My  great  ambition  tends  ; 

Thus  would  I  make  me  fat  and  rich 
By  living  off  my  friends. 

The  other  bears  no  title  : 

Go  on,  my  friend,  speak  freely,  pray  ; 
Don't  stop  till  you  have  said  your  say  j 
But,  after  you  are  tired  to  death, 
And  pause  to  take  a  little  breath, 
I'll  name  a  dish  I  think  is  one 
To  which  no  justice  can  be  done  ! 

It  isn't  pastry,  old  and  rich, 

Nor  onions,  garlic,  chives,  and  sich  ; 


^mural  lessons:1  189 

Not  cheese  that  moves  with  lively  pace, 

It  is'nt  even  Sweitzer  Kase: 

It  isn't  ham,  that's  old  and  strong, 

Nor  sausage  kept  a  month  too  long  ; 

It  isn't  beefsteak,  fried  in  lard, 

Nor  boiled  potatoes  when  they're  hard 

(All  food  unfit  for  Goth  or  Celt); 

It  isn't  fit  even  when  they're  smelt ; 

It  ain't  what  Chinamen  call  nice, 

Although  they  dote  on  rats  and  mice  ; 

For,  speaking  honestly  and  truly, 

I  wouldn't  give  it  to  a  Coolie ! 

I  wouldn't  vally  even  a  pup, 

If  he  could  stoop  to  eat  it  up  , 

Nor  give  my  enemy  a  bit, 

Although  he  sot  and  cried  for  it. 

Recall  all  pizen  food  and  slop 

At  stations  where  the  rail-cars  stop  ; 

It's  more  than  each  and  all  of  these, 

By  just  about  sixteen  degrees. 

It  has  no  nutriment,  it's  trash  ! 

It's  meaner  than  the  meanest  hash, 

And  sourer  twenty  thousand  times, 

Than  lemons,  vinegar,  and  limes  ; 

It's  what  I  hate  the  man  who  eats  ; 

It's  poor,  cold,  cussed,  pickled  beets  ! " 

I  pause  in  these  quotations  with  a  sense  of  pain. 
The  written  line  is  such  a  feeble  reflection  of  the  liv- 
ing words  which  flashed  from  the  speaking  worn. in,  so 
tiny  a  ray  of  that  abounding  light,  that  bounteous  lite, 
from  earth  gone  out  ! 

The  same  powerful   sense  of  justice,  the  same  deli- 


190  ALICE  AND  PHOEBE   CARY. 

cate  honor,  the  sensitive  conscience,  the  tender  sym- 
pathies, which  prevailed  in  the  nature  of  Alice,  were 
also  dominant  in  Phoebe. 

She  not  only  wanted  every  breathing  thing  to  have 
its  little  mortal  chance,  but,  so  far  as  she  felt  able  to 
assist,  it  had  it.  She  was  especially  sympathetic  to  the 
aged  and  the  young,  yet  her  heart  went  out  to  the 
helpless,  the  poor,  the  oppressed  everywhere. 

One  of  her  most  marked  traits  was  a  fine  sense  of 
honor  which  pervaded  her  minutest  acts.  This  was 
manifested  in  her  personal  relations  with  others,  in  the 
utter  absence  of  all  curiosity.  If  ever  a  woman  lived 
who  absolutely  "  minded  her  own  business,  and  let 
that  of  other  people  alone,"  it  was  Phcebe  Cary.  If 
ever  mortal  lived  who  thoroughly  respected  the  indi- 
vidual life  and  rights  of  others,  it  was  Phcebe  Cary. 
From  the  prevailing  "  littlenesses  "  which  Margaret 
Fuller  Ossoli  says  are  the  curse  of  women,  she  was 
almost  entirely  free. 

Her  conscience  ruled  her  in  the  words  of  her 
mouth,  the  meditations  of  her  heart,  and  the  minutest 
acts  of  her  life.  To  do  anything  which  she  knew  to 
be  wrong  would  have  been  an  impossibility  to  Phcebe 
Cary.  This  acute  and  ever  accusing-conscience,  com- 
bined with  a  lowly  estimate  of  every  power  of  her 
own,  even  her  power  of  being  good,  filled  her  with  a 
deep  and  pervading  humility.  She  was  not  only 
modest,  she  was  humble  ;  not  in  any  cringing  or  igno- 
ble sense,  but  with  an  abiding  consciousness  that  it 
was  not  possible  for  her  to  attain  to  her  own  standard 
of  excellence  in  anything.  These  qualities,  together, 
produced  a  blended  timidity  of  nature  and  feeling, 
which  was  manifested  even  in  her  religious  experience. 


LOVE   OF  APPROBATION.  191 

Her  apprehension  of  God  as  the  universal  and  all- 
loving  Father  was  deep  and  comprehensive.  Her 
belief  in  Christ  as  an  all-sufficient  Saviour  was  sure 
and  sufficing.  Her  faith  and  hope  in  them  soared 
and  sang  in  the  sunshine  of  abiding  trust.  But  the 
moment  she  thought  of  herself,  she  felt  all  unworthi- 
ness.  It  was  her  last  thought,  uttered  in  her  last 
words,  "  O  God,  have  mercy  on  my  soul !  " 

As  it  is  to  all  self-distrusting  persons,  personal  ap- 
probation was  dear  to  her.  The  personal  responses 
which  many  of  her  poems  called  forth  made  her 
genuinely  happy,  and  were  to  her,  often,  the  most 
precious  recompense  of  her  labor.  Nothing  could 
have  been  more  ingenuous  or  modest  than  the  pleasure 
which  she  showed  at  any  spontaneous  response  from 
another  heart,  called  out  by  some  poem  of  her  own. 
She  did  not  set  a  high  value  on  herself,  but  if  others 
valued  her,  she  was  glad.  If  she  received  the  assur- 
ance that  in  any  way  her  words  had  helped  another 
human  being,  she  was  happier  still.  This  happiness 
probably  never  rose  to  such  fullness  from  the  same 
cause,  as  when  the  incident  of  the  two  wanderers  in 
China,  and  her  hymn,  "  Nearer  Home,"  first  met  her 
eyes  in  a  newspaper. 

While  she  frankly  said  that  she  was  happy  in  be- 
lieving that  she  came  of  good  lineage,  no  one  on  earth 
was  more  ready  to  say,  — 

"A  man's  a  man,  for  a'  that," 

whatever  the  shadow  might  be  which  rested  on  his 
birth  or  ancestry.  Of  sycophancy  and  snobbery  she 
was  incapable.  She  took  the  most  literal  measure  of 
every  human  being  whom  si  d    at   all,  and   the 


192  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

valuation  was  precisely  what  the  individual  made  it, 
without  reference  to  any  antecedent  whatever.  Shams 
collapsed  in  the  presence  of  this  truthful  soul,  and 
pretense  withered  away  under  her  cool,  measuring 
gaze.  Mere  wealth  had  no  patent  which  could  com- 
mand her  respect,  and  poverty  no  sorrow  that  did  not 
possess  her  sympathy  and  pity.  "  I  have  felt  so  poor 
myself,"  she  said  ;  "  I  have  cried  in  the  street  because 
I  was  poor.  I  am  so  much  nearer  to  poor  people, 
than  to  rich  ones." 

The  child  of  such  parents,  Phoebe,  as  well  as  Alice, 
could  scarcely  help  growing  up  to  be  the  advocate  of 
every  good  word  and  work.  Phoebe's  pen,  as  well  as 
her  life,  was  ever  dedicated  to  temperance,  to  human 
rights,  to  religion,  to  all  true  progress.  It  was  impos- 
sible that  such  a  woman  should  not  have  been  devoted 
to  all  the  best  interests  of  her  own  sex.  She  believed 
religiously  in  the  social,  mental,  and  civil  enfranchise- . 
ment  of  woman.  She  hated  caste  in  sex  as  she  hated 
any  other  caste  rooted  in  injustice,  and  the  degrada- 
tion of  human  nature.  She  believed  it  to  be  the 
human  right  of  every  woman  to  develop  the  power  that 
God  has  given  her,  and  to  fulfill  her  destiny  as  a 
human  creature,  —  free  as  man  is  free.  Yet  it  was 
in  woman  as  woman  that  she  believed.  She  herself 
was  one  of  the  most  womanly  of  women.  What  she 
longed  to  see  educated  to  a  finer  and  fuller  supremacy 
in  woman,  was  feminine,  not  masculine  strength.  As 
she  believed  in  man's,  she  believed  no  less  in  woman's 
kingdom.  Her  very  clearly  defined  ideas  and  feelings 
on  this  subject  can  in  no  way  be  so  perfectly  expressed 
as  in  her  own  words,  published  in  the  "New  York 
Tribune." 


ADVICE    TO    WOMEN.  X93 

ADVICE  GRATIS  TO  CERTAIN  WOMEN. 

BY  A  WOMAN. 

O,  my  strong-minded  sisters,  aspiring  to  vote, 
And  to  row  with  your  brothers,  all  in  the  same  boat, 
When  you  come  out  to  speak  to  the  public  your  mind, 
Leave  your  tricks,  and  your  airs,  and  your  graces  be- 
hind ! 

For  instance,  when  you  by  the  world  would  be  seen 
As  reporter,  or  editor  (first-class,  I  mean), 
I  think  —  just  to  come  to  the  point  in  one  line  — 
What  you  write  will  be  finer,  if  'tis  not  too  fine. 

Pray,  don't  let  the  thread  of  your  subject  be  strung 
With  "golden,"  and  "shimmer,"  "sweet,"  "filter,"  and 

"flung;" 
Nor  compel,  by  your  style,  all  your  readers  to  guess 
You've  been  looking  up  word's  Webster  marks  obs. 

And  another  thing :  whatever  else  you  may  say, 
Do  keep  personalities  out  of  the  way  j 
Don't  try  every  sentence  to  make  people  see 
What  a  clear,  charming  creature  the  writer  must  be ! 

Leave  out  affectations  and  pretty  appeals ; 
Don't  "  drag  yourself  in  by  the  neck  and  the  heels," 
Your  clear  little  boots,  and  your  gloves  ;  and  take  heed, 
Nor  pull  your  curls  over  men's  eyes  while  they  read. 

Don't  mistake  me  ;  I  mean  that  trier  public's  not  home, 
You  must  do  as  the  Romans  do,  when  you're  in  Rome] 
»3 


J 94  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

I  would  have  you  be  womanly,  while  you  are  wise ; 
'Tis  the  weak  and  the  womanish  tricks  I  despise. 

On  the  other  hand  :  don't  write  and  dress  in  such  styleo 
As  astonish  the  natives,  and  frighten  the  isles  ; 
Do  look,  on  the  platform,  so  folks  in  the  show 
Needn't  ask,   "Which  are  lions,  and  which  tigers?" 
you  know ! 

'Tis  a  good  thing  to  write,  and  to  rule  in  the  state, 
But  to  be  a  true,  womanly  woman  is  great : 
And  if  ever  you  come  to  be  that,  'twill  be  when 
You  can  cease  to  be  babies,  nor  try  to  be  men ! 

After  months  of  solicitation  from  those  connected 
with  it,  and  at  the  earnest  entreaty  of  Alice,  she 
became  at  one  time  the  assistant  editor  of  the  "Revo- 
lution." But  the  responsibility  was  always  distasteful 
to  her,  and  after  a  few  months'  trial,  she  relinquished 
it  with  a  sense  of  utter  relief. 

She,  like  Alice,  was  unfitted  by  natural  temperament 
and  disposition  for  all  personal  publicity.  But  in  pri- 
vate intercourse,  at  home  or  abroad,  her  convictions 
on  all  subjects  were  earnestly  and  fearlessly  expressed. 

Although  so  uncompromising  in  her  convictions, 
Phcebe  very  rarely  aroused  antagonism  in  her  expres- 
sion of  them.  If  she  uttered  them  at  all,  it  was  in  a 
form  which  commanded  merriment,  if  not  belief.  The 
truth  which  many  another  might  unfold  in  an  hour's 
declamation,  she  would  sheathe  in  witty  rhyme,  in  whose 
lines  it  would  run  and  sparkle  as  it  never  could  have 
done  in  bald  prose. 

In  the  following  lines  we  find  her  usual  manner  of 


i 


PHCEBE   ON   WOMAN'S  RIGHTS.  1 95 

expressing  a  truth,  which  so  many  others  offer  in  a 
form  harsh  and  repelling.  Phoebe,  who  had  just  writ- 
ten these  lines,  brought  them  in,  and  read  them  one 
day  to  Alice,  who  was  too  ill  to  sit  up.  The  turn  of 
her  words,  and  the  tones  of  her  voice,  combined,  were 
irresistible,  and  in  a  moment  the  beating  rain  outside, 
and  the  weary  pain  within  were  forgotten  in  merriment. 
Thus  the  truth  of  the  rhyme,  which  from  many  another 
nature  would  have  shot  forth  in  garrulous  fault-finding 
or  expostulation,  in  the  dress  wherewith  Phoebe  decked 
it,  amused  far  more  than  it  exasperated,  although  the 
keenness  of  its  edge  was  in  no  wise  dulled  or  obscured. 

WAS  HE  HENPECKED? 

"  I'll  tell  you  what  it  is,  my  dear," 

Said  Mrs.  Dorking,  proudly, 
"  I  do  not  like  that  chanticleer 

Who  crows  o'er  us  so  loudly. 

"  And  since  I  must  his  laws  obey, 
And  have  him  walk  before  me, 
I'd  rather  like  to  have  my  say 
Of  who  should  lord  it  o'er  me." 

"  You'd  like  to  vote?"  he  answered  slow, 
u  Why,  treasure  of  my  treasures, 
What  can  you,  or  what  should  you  know 
Of  public  men,  or  measures? 

*l  Of  course,  you  have  ability, 
Of  nothing  am  I  surer  ; 
You're  quite  as  wise,  perhaps,  as  I ; 
You're  better,  too,  and  purer. 


l$6  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CAKY. 

"  I'd  have  you  just  for  mine  alone  ; 
Nay,  so  do  I  adore  you, 
I'd  put  you  queen  upon  a  throne, 
And  bow  myself  before  you." 

"  You'd  put  me  !  you  ?  now  that  is  what 
I  do  not  want,  precisely ; 
I  want  myself  to  choose  the  spot 
That  I  can  fill  most  wisely." 

u  My  dear,  you're  talking  like  a  goose  — 
Unhenly,  and  improper  "  — 
But  here  again  her  words  broke  loose, 
In  vain  he  tried  to  stop  her : 

u  I  tell  you,  though  she  never  spoke 
So  you  could  understand  her, 
A  goose  knows  when  she  wears  a  yoke, 
As  quickly  as  a  gander." 

u  Why,  bless  my  soul !  what  would  you  do  ? 
Write  out  a  diagnosis  ? 
Speak  equal  rights  ?  join  with  their  crew 
.  And  dine  with  the  Sorosis  ? 

"  And  shall  I  live  to  see  it,  then  — 
My  wife  a  public  teacher  ? 
And  would  you  be  a  crowing  hen  — 
That  dreadful  unsexed  creature  ?  " 

"Why,  as  to  that,  I  do  not  know  ; 
Nor  see  why  you  should  fear  it ; 
If  I  can  crow,  why  let  me  crow, 

If  I  can't,  then  you  won't  hear  it  I  " 


"WAS  HE   HENPECKED?"  1 97 

u  Now,  why,"  he  said,  "  can't  such  as  you 
Accept  what  we  assign  them  ? 
You  have  your  rights,  'tis  very  true, 
But  then,  we  should  define  them  ! 

u  We  would  not  peck  you  cruelly, 
We  would  not  buy  and  sell  you  ; 
And  you,  in  turn,  should  think,  and  be. 
And  do,  just  what  we  tell  you  ! 

"  I  do  not  want  you  made,  my  dear, 
The  subject  of  rude  men's  jest ; 
I  like  you  in  your  proper  sphere, 
The  circle  of  a  hen's  nest ! 

"  I'd  keep  you  in  the  chicken-yard, 
Safe,  honored,  and  respected ; 
From  all  that  makes  us  rough  and  hard, 
Your  sex  should  be  protected." 

"Pray,  did  it  ever  make  you  sick  ? 
Have  I  gone  to  the  dickens? 
Because  you  let  me  scratch  and  pick 
Both  for  myself  and  chickens  ?  " 

"  O,  that's  a  different  thing,  you  know, 
Such  duties  are  parental  ; 
But  for  some  work  to  do,  you'd  grow 
Quite  weak  and  sentimental." 

"  Ah  !  yes,  it's  well  for  you  to  talk 
About  ;i  parent's  duty  ! 
Who  keeps  your  chickens  from  the  hawk  ? 
Who  stays  in  nights,  my  beauty  ?  " 


I9»  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

*  But,  madam,  you  may  go  each  hour, 
Lord  bless  your  pretty  faces  ! 
We'll  give  you  anything,  but  power 
And  honor,  trust  and  places. 

u  We'd  keep  it  hidden  from  your  sight 
How  public  scenes  are  carried  ; 
Why,  men  are  coarse,  and  swear,  and  fight  "• 
"  I  know  it,  dear ;  I'm  married  ! " 

"  Why,  now  you  gabble  like  a  fool ; 
But  what's  the  use  of  talking? 
'Tis  yours  to  serve,  and  mine  to  rule, 
I  tell  you,  Mrs.  Dorking  !  " 

"  O,  yes,"  she  said,  "  you've  all  the  sense  \ 
Your  sex  are  very  knowing ; 
Yet  some  of  you  are  on  the  fence, 
And  only  good  at  crowing." 

"Ah!  preciousest  of  precious  souls, 
Your  words  with  sorrow  fill  me  ; 
To  see  you  voting  at  the  polls 
I  really  think  would  kill  me. 

"  To  mourn  my  home's  lost  sanctity ; 
To  feel  you  did  not  love  me  ; 
And  worse,  to  see  you  fly  so  high, 
And  have  you  roost  above  me  !  " 

u  Now,  what  you  fear  in  equal  rights 
I  think  you've  told  precisely  ; 
Thafsjust  about  the  'place  it  lights,'  " 
Said  Mrs.  Dorking  wisely. 


LOVE   OF  CHILL  \'£N  AND    OF  DRESS.       1 99 

Phoebe  was  very  fond  of  children.  Like  Alice,  she 
always  had  her  special  pets  and  darlings  among  the 
children  of  her  friends.  She  was  interested  in  all  child- 
hood, but,  unlike  Alice,  she  preferred  little  boys  to  little 
girls.  All  her  child  lyrics  are  exceptionably  happy, 
going  straight  to  the  understanding  and  hearts  of  little 
folk.  She  addresses  them  ever  as  dear  little  friends, 
jolly  little  comrades,  never  in  a  mother-tone  ;  while  in 
Alice,  we  feel  constantly  the  yearning  of  the  mother- 
heart.  Her  utterances  to  children  thrill  through  and 
through  with  mother-love,  its  tenderness,  its  exultation. 
It  is  often  difficult  to  realize  that  she  is  not  the  mother 
of  the  child  to  whom  she  speaks,  and  of  whose  loveli- 
ness she  sings. 

Phoebe  had  a  childlike  love  of  decoration.  Not  that 
she  was  ever  satisfied  with  her  looks.  She  had  the 
same  distrust  of  her  personal  appearance,  that  she  had 
of  her  personal  powers.  Nevertheless  she  had  a  pas- 
sionate love  of  ornaments. 

Alice  delighted  in  ample  robes,  rich  fabrics,  India 
shawls,  and  wore  very  few  jewels.  But  Phoebe  would 
wear  two  bracelets  on  one  arm,  from  the  sheer  delight 
of  looking  on  them.  The  Oriental  warmth  of  her  tem- 
perament was  revealed  in  her  delight  in  gleaming  gems. 
She  loved  them  for  their  own  sakes.  There  were 
ardors  of  hei  heart  which  seemed  to  find  their  counter- 
part in  the  jnprisoned,  yet  inextinguishable  fires  of 
precious  stones.  She  would  watch  and  muse  over 
them,  in  in  at  after  moment,  as  if  in  a  dream.  Hei 
ire  and  Strong,  were  the  avenues  of  keen  and 

swift  delights,     [f  her  conscience  was  stern,  her  heart 

was    warm j   and    her    capacity  for  joy  immeasurable. 
The  :  I,  the  odor  of  a  Mower,  the   LiCii 


200  ALICE    -IND    PHOEBE    CARY. 

of  youth,  the  subtle  effluence  of  outraying  beauty,  the 
touch  of  a  hand,  the  moulding  of  a  perfect  arm,  every- 
thing which  revealed,  in  sight  or  sound  or  form,  the 
more  subtle  and  secret  significance  of  matter,  moved 
a  nature  powerful  in  its  passionate  sensibility. 

To  her  dying  hour  she  was  a  child  in  many  ways. 
The  Phoebe  Gary  who  faced  the  world  was  dignified, 
self-contained,  and  self-controlled.  But  the  child-heart 
avenged  itself  for  what  the  world  had  cost  it,  when  it 
came  back  to  its  own  sole  self.  The  last  great  strug- 
gle, in  which  alone  it  essayed  to  meet  and  conquer 
sorrow,  snapped  the  cord  of  life.  Thus  in  the  slightest 
things,  often,  Phoebe  could  not  bear  disappointment 
any  better  than  a  child.  No  matter  how  bravely  she 
tried,  afterwards,  in  greater  or  less  degree,  she  always 
went  through  the  reaction  of  complete  prostration. 
Often  a  disappointment  like  missing  a  train  of  cars, 
having  a  journey  put  off,  or  even  a  pleasant  evening 
out  deferred,  would  send  her  to  her  room  in  floods  of 
tears.  To  be  sure,  she  made  no  ado.  The  door  was 
shut,  and  nobody  was  allowed  to  hear  the  wailing,  nor 
were  any  comments  made  on  it  afterwards.  Never- 
theless, when  she  appeared  again,  two  or  three,  at  least, 
always  knew  that  "  Phoebe  had  had  her  cry,  and  felt 
better." 

Modest  and  reticent  in  herself,  yet  merry  and  witty 
in  her  conversation  with  men,  her  habitual  manner  to 
the  women  whom  she  loved  was  most  endearing. 
Without  the  shallow  "gush,"  and  insipid  surface  effer- 
vescence of  sentimental  adjectives,  which  in  many 
women  take  the  place,  and  attempt  to  hide  the  lack, 
of  any  deep  affection,  Phoebe  was  full  of  loving  little 
ways,  dear    to    remember.       She    had    a   fashion    of 


PHCEBE'S  LOVERS.  201 

smoothing  back  your  hair  from  your  forehead,  as  if 
you  were  a  child  ;  and  of  coming  and  standing  beside 
you,  with  her  hand  laid  upon  your  shoulder  in  a  caress- 
ing touch.  This  action  of  hers  was  especially  comfort- 
ing and  assuring.  It  was  not  a  startling,  nervous 
hand  resting  on  your  shoulder.  It  was  deep,  dimpled, 
and  abiding.  It  rested,  soothed,  and  helped  you  at 
once.  It  came  with  a  caress,  and  left  you  with  a 
laugh.  For  by  that  time,  its  owner  had  surely  said 
something  which  had  changed  the  entire  current  of 
your  thoughts  and  feeling,  if  you  had  been  woe-begone. 
and  lonesome  when  she  came. 

Emerson  says,  "  All  mankind  love  a  lover ;  "  and 
Phcebe  Cary  surely  did.  But  rarely  in  any  solemn, 
heart-tearing  way. 

"  Believe  me,"  she  said  once,  "  I  never  loved  any 
man  well  enough  to  lie  awake  half  an  hour,  to  be 
miserable  about  him." 

"  I  do  believe  you,"  said  Alice.  "  It  would  be  hard 
to  believe  it,  were  you  to  say  you  ever  had." 

Till  within  a  few  years  of  her  death,  it  was  only  a 
distant  adorer  that  Phoebe  desired,  a  cavalier  servente% 
who  would  escort  her  to  public  places  occasionally, 
pay  her  chivalric  homage  on  Sabbath  evenings,  and 
through  the  week  retire  to  his  affairs,  leaving  her 
"  unbothered  "  to  attend  to  hers.  Her  ideal  of  mar- 
must  exalted  ;  and  she  would  deliberately 
have  chosen  to  have  lived  "  solitary  to  her  dying  day," 
rather  than  to  have  entered  that  sacred  state,  without 
that  its  highest  and  purest  happiness 
A'oultl  have  been  h< 

u  I  prefer  my  own  life  to  that  of  the  mass  of  mar- 
ried people  that  I  see,"  she  would  say;  "it  is  a  dreary 


202  ALICE  AND  PH(EBE   CARY. 

material  life  that  they  seem  to  me  to  live,  no  inspira- 
tion of  the  deepest  love  in  it.  And  yet  I  believe  that 
true  marriage  holds  the  highest  and  purest  possibilities 
of  human  happiness."  It  was  a  perfectly  characteristic 
reply  that  she  made  to  the  person  who  asked  her  if 
she  had  ever  been  disappointed  in  her  affections  :  — 

"  No ;  but  a  great  many  of  my  married  friends 
have." 

Equally  characteristic  was  her  answer  to  the  erratic 
officer  of  our  late  war,  who  invited  her  to  drive  with 
him,  and  improved  the  opportunity  it  gave  to  ask  her 
to  marry  him.    She  requested  a  short  time  to  consider. 

"  No,"  said  the  peremptory  hero.  "  Now,  or 
never." 

"  Never ! "  was  the  response. 

We  may  believe  that  the  "  never "  did  not  lose  in 
vim  from  the  fact,  known  to  her,  that  the  same  daring 
adorer  had  offered  his  name  and  fame  no  less  ar- 
dently, but  a   few  days   before,  to    her   sister   Alice. 

They  parted  at  the  Twentieth  Street  door  forever. 
He  died  not  long  after,  of  wounds  received  in  battle. 

Phcebe  was  as  innocently  fond  of  admiration  as  she 
was  of  decoration.  She  was  never  vain  of  it,  but 
always  delighted  when  she  received  it.  She  received 
much.  When  it  culminated  in  an  offer  of  marriage, 
as  it  repeatedly  did,  Phcebe  invariably  said,  "  No,  I 
thank  you  :  I  like  you  heartily ;  but  I  don't  want  to 
marry  anybody."  The  result  was,  her  lover  remained 
her  friend.  If  he  married,  his  wife  became  her 
friend  ;  and  the  two  women  exchanged  visits  on  the 
most  cordial  terms.  There  was  not  an  atom  of  senti- 
mentality, in  the  form  that  young  Sparkler  calls  "  non 
sense,"  in  the  character  of  Phcebe  Cary. 


PHCEbE  AND  ALICE.  203 

During  the  last  ten  years  of  her  life,  the  woman's 
Heart  asserted  itself  in  behalf  of  the  woman's  life.  In 
1867,  an  offer  of  marriage  was  made  her  by  a  gentle- 
man eminent  in  the  world  of  letters,  a  man  of  the 
most  refined  nature,  extensive  culture,  and  real  piety. 
She  felt  a  deep  and  true  affection  for  him,  as  he  did 
for  her.  The  vision  of  a  new  life  and  home  shone 
brightly  in  upon  the  shadow  which  disease  and  death 
had  hung  over  her  own. 

.  Although  unconsciously,  Alice  had  already  entered 
the  Valley  of  Death ;  and  when,  with  her  failing 
strength,  the  loss  of  Phoebe  suddenly  confronted  her, 
she  shrunk  back  appalled.  "  I  suppose  I  shall  be 
sustained,  if  worst  comes  to  worst!"  she  wrote  ;  "but 
I  am  very  sad  now."  Phcebe  looked  into  the  face  of 
her  lover,  and  every  impulse  of  her  heart  said,  "  Yes ; " 
she  looked  into  the  face  of  her  sister,  and  her  lips 
said  without  faltering,  "  No."  Making  the  sacrifice, 
she  made  it  cheerfully,  and  without  ado.  I  doubt  if 
Alice,  to  her  dying  day,  realized  how  much  Phcebe 
relinquished  in  her  own  heart,  when  she  sacrificed  the 
prospect  of  this  new  life  for  her  sake. 

Referring  to  it  once,  Phcebe  said, "  When  I  saw  how 
Alice  felt,  I  could  not  leave  her.  If  I  had  married,  I 
should  have  gone  to  my  own  home  ;  now,  she  could 
never  live  anywhere  but  in  her  own  house.  I  could 
not  leave  her  alone.  She  has  given  so  much  to  me, 
I  said,  I  will  give  the  rest  of  my  life  to  her.  It  is 
right.  I  would  not  have  it  otherwise.  Yet  when  I 
think  of  it,  I  am  sure  1  haw  never  lived  out  my 
full  nature,  have  never  lived  a  complete  life.  My  lift 
is  an  appendage  to  that  of  Alice.     It   is   my   nature 

and  fate  to  walk  second  to  her.     I  haw  less  of  every- 


204  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

thing  that  is  worth  having,  than  she  ;  less  power  less 
money,  fewer  friends. 

"  Sometimes  I  feel  a  yearning  to  have  a  life  mv  very 
own  ;  my  own  house,  and  work,  and  friends  ;  and  to 
feel  myself  the  centre  of  all.  I  feel  now  that  it  is 
never  to  be.  O,  if  you  knew  how  I  carry  her  on  my 
heart !  If  she  goes  down  town,  I  am  anxious  till  she 
comes  back.  I  am  so  afraid  some  harm  will  happen 
to  her.  Think  of  it !  for  more  than  thirty  years  our 
house  has  never  been  free  from  the  sound  of  that 
cough.  One  by  one,  all  have  had  it,  and  gone,  but 
we  two.  Now,  when  I  am  alone,  I  have  that  constant 
dread  on  me  about  Alice.  Of  course  I  could  not  leave 
her.  Yet  (with  a  pathetic  smile)  I  am  sure  we 
would  have  been  very  happy.  Don't  you  think  so  ? " 
Taking  a  picture  from  the  inner  drawer  of  her  desk, 
she  gazed  on  it  long.  "  Yes,  I  am  sure  of  it,"  she 
said,  as  she  slowly  put  it  back. 

Through  the  teachings  of  her  parents,  and  the 
promptings  of  her  own  soul,  Phoebe  Cary  believed  in 
the  final  restoration,  from  sin  to  happiness,  of  the  en- 
tire human  race,  through  the  love  of  the  Father  and 
the  atonement  of  Jesus  Christ.  Her  faith  in  God, 
her  love  for  humanity,  never  wavered.  No  less,  through 
her  very  temperament,  her  dependent  soul  needed  all 
the  support  of  outward  form,  as  well  as  of  inward 
grace.  Alice  could  worship  and  be  happy  in  the  soli- 
tude of  her  own  room  ;  but  Phoebe  wanted  all  the  ac- 
cessions of  the  Church  service.  She  was  deeply  devo- 
tional. In  her  unostentatious  devoutness,  there  was 
a  touch  of  the  old  Covenanter's  spirit.  In  her  utter 
dependence  on  the  mercy  and  love  of  God,  there  was 
an  absolute  humility  of  heart,  touching  to  see. 


PHCEBE'S  RELIGIOUS  FAITH.  205 

Although  she  believed  in  the  final  restoration  of 
the  human  race  to  holiness,  she  believed  no  less  in 
extreme  penalties  for  sin.  She  expected  punishment 
for  every  evil  deed  she  did,  not  only  here  but  hereafter. 
This  belief,  with  her  own  natural  timidity  and  humility, 
explains  every  cry  that  she  ever  uttered  for  divine 
mercy,  even  to  the  last. 

How  much  more  to  her  was  the  Spirit  of  the  Divine 
Master  than  the  tenets  of  any  creed,  we  may  know 
from  the  fact  that  for  many  years  of  her  life  in  New 
York,  she  was  a  member  of  the  Church  of  the  Pil- 
grims (Congregational),  its  pastor,  Dr.  Cheever,  her 
dear  friend  :  while  at  the  time  of  her  death  she  was  a 
regular  attendant  at  an  independent  church  (the  Church 
of  the  Stranger),  and  with  its  pastor,  Rev.  Dr.  Deems, 
was  the  associate  editor  of  "  Hymns  for  All  Chris- 
tians." Faith,  hope,  and  love  —  love  for  God,  love 
for  her  fellow-creatures  —  were  the  prevailing  elements 
of  her  religious  faith  and  experience.  In  the  belief 
and  practice  of  these  she  lived  and  died,  a  brilliant, 
devout,  humble,  loving,  and  lovable  woman. 


to6  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   GARY. 


CHAPTER  XI. 

PHCEBE'S   LAST   SUMMER.  —  DEATH   AND    BURIAL. 

There  is  something  inexpressibly  sad  in  the  very 
thought  of  Phoebe's  last  summer.  One  must  marvel 
at  the  providence  of  God,  which  demanded  of  a  soul  so 
dependent  upon  the  ministries  of  love,  so  clinging  in 
every  fibre  of  its  being,  that  it  should  go  down  into 
the  awful  shadow,  and  confront  death  alone.  Though 
hard,  it  would  have  been  easier  for  Alice  to  have  met 
such  a  fate.  Yet  it  was  not  Alice,  it  was  Phoebe,  who 
died  alone.  She  not  only  was  alone,  but  sadder  still, 
she  knew  it.  In  the  very  last  days  she  said,  "  I  am 
dying  alone." 

The  general  impression  is  that  with  a  constitution 
exceptional  in  her  family,  in  robust  health,  she  was 
suddenly  smitten,  and,  without  warning,  died.  This  is 
far  from  the  truth.  Even  in  the  summer  of  1869,  she 
complained  of  symptoms  which  proved  to  be  the  fore- 
runners of  fatal  disease.  More  than  once  she  ex- 
claimed, "  O  this  heaviness,  this  lethargy  which  comes 
over  me,  as  if  I  could  never  move  again !  I  wonder 
what  it  is  !  "  But  Alice  was  so  confirmedly,  and  every 
day  becoming  so  hopelessly  the  invalid  ot  the  house- 
hold, Phcebe's  ailments  were  ignored  by  herself,  and 
scarcely  known  to  her  friends.  In  the  presence  of  the 
mortal  agony  which  had  settled   on  her  sister's  frame, 


PHOEBE'S   CARE   OF  ALICE.  207 

Phoebe  had  neither  heart  nor  desire  to  speak  of  the 
low,  dull  pain  already  creeping  about  her  own  heart. 
Her  first  anxiety  was  to  spare  her  sister  every  external 
cause  for  solicitude  or  care. 

Nevertheless,  there  were  times  when  her  own  mor- 
tality was  too  strong  for  her,  and  in  the  December  be- 
fore the  death  of  Alice,  she  lay  for  many  days  in  the 
little  room  adjoining,  sick  almost  unto  death,  with  one 
form  of  the  disease  of  which,  at  last,  she  died.  While 
convalescing  from  this  attack,  I  found  her  one  day 
lying  on  a  sofa  in  Alice's  room,  while  Alice,  in  an  arm- 
chair, was  sitting  by  her  side.  It  was  one  of  Alice's 
"best  days."  Not  two  months  before  her  death,  after 
days  and  nights  of  anguish  which  no  language  can 
portray,  she  yet  had  life  enough  left  to  be  seated  in 
that  arm-chair,  dressed  in  white,  wrapped  in  a  snowy 
lamb's-wool  shawl,  with  a  dainty  cap,  brave  with  pink 
ribbons,  on  her  head.  Moving  against  the  back  of  the 
chair,  she  at  last  pushed  this  jaunty  cap  on  one  side, 
when  Phcebe  looked  up  from  her  pillow,  and  said  with 
a  sudden  laugh,  "  Alice,  you  have  no  idea  what  a 
rakish  appearance  you  present.  I'll  get  you  the  hand- 
glass that  you  may  see  how  you  wear  your  cap."  And 
this  remark  was  the  first  of  a  series  of  happy  sallies 
which  passed  between  these  two,  stricken  and  smitten, 
yet  tossing  to  and  fro  sunny  words,  as  if  neither  had  a 
sorrow,  and  as  if  all  life  stretched  fair  and  bright  be- 
fore them. 

Phcebe  probably  never  knew,  in  this  world,  to  what 
awful  tension  her  body  and  soul  were  strained,  in  liv- 
ing through  the  suffering  of  Alice,  and  beholding  her 
die. 

She  herself    laid:   "It   seems   to   me    that    a    cord 


208  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

stretches  from  Alice's  heart  to  mine ;  nothing  can  hurt 
her  that  does  not  hurt  me."  That  that  cord  was 
severed  at  death,  no  one  can  believe.  Beyond  the 
grave  Alice  drew  her  still,  till  she  drew  her  into  the 
skies. 

After  her  sister's  death  she  remarked  to  a  friend, 
"  Alice,  when  she  was  here,  always  absorbed  me,  and 
she  absorbs  me  still ;  I  feel  her  constantly  drawing  me." 

You  have  read  how,  after  seeing  the  body  of  her 
sister  laid  beneath  the  snow  in  Greenwood,  Phoebe 
came  back  to  the  empty  home,  let  the  sunshine  in, 
filled  the  desolate  room  with  flowers,  and  laid  down 
to  sleep  on  the  couch  near  that  of  Alice,  which  she  had 
occupied  through  all  her  last  sickness ;  how  she  rose 
with  the  purpose  and  will  to  work,  to  prepare  a  new 
edition  of  all  her  sister's  writings,  —  not  to  sit  down 
in  objectless  grief,  but  to  do  all  that  her  sister  would, 
and,  she  believed,  did  still  desire  her  to  do.  There 
was  not  a  touch  of  morbidness  in  her  nature.  By 
birthright  hers  was  an  open,  honest,  sunshiny  soul. 
The  very  effluence  of  her  music  sprang  from  the  inspi- 
ration of  truth,  faith,  and  love.  In  herself  she  had 
everything  left  to  live  for.  Mentally,  she  had  not  yet 
risen  to  the  fullness  of  her  powers.  She  was  still  in  the 
prime  of  a  rich,  attractive  womanhood  ;  her  black  hair 
untouched  of  gray,  her  hazel  eyes  sparkling  as  ever, 
her  cheeks  as  dimpled  as  a  baby's,  her  smile,  even  with 
its  droop  of  sadness,  more  winsome  than  of  old.  To 
her  own  little  store  were  now  added  her  sister's  pos- 
sessions. Save  a  few  legacies  and  mementos,  every- 
thing of  which  she  died  possessed,  Alice  had  bestowed 
upon  Phoebe.  The  house  was  hers  j  she  its  sole  mis- 
tress, possessed  of  a  life    competency.      All   Alice's 


PHCEBE'S  SOLITARINESS.  2og 

Inends  were  hers  now  in  a  double  sense  ;  foi  they 
loved  her  for  herself,  and  her  sister  also.  She  sat  en- 
shrined in  a  tenderer  and  deeper  sympathy  than  had 
ever  enveloped  her  before  ;  her  fame  was  growing, 
offering  her  every  promise  of  a  more  brilliant  and  en- 
during repute  in  the  world  of  letters  ;  her  position  as 
the  leader  of  a  most  brilliant  and  intellectual  society 
was  never  so  assured.  Dear  soul !  life  had  come  to 
her,  why  should  she  not  be  sunshiny  and  brave  ?  No- 
body had  left  her,  not  even  her  dead ;  were  not  Alice 
and  Elmina,  and  all  her  lost  ones,  going  in  and  out 
with  her,  supporting  her,  cheering  her  ?  why  should  she 
be  bowed  down  and  sorrowful?  No  less  that  realistic 
nature,  that  tenacious  heart,  cried  out  for  the  old,  tan- 
gible fellowship,  for  the  face  to  face  communion,  the 
touch  of  the  hand,  the  tender,  brooding  smile,  even  for 
the  old  moan  of  pain  telling  of  the  human  presence. 
Alice  was  there  —  yes,  she  believed  it ;  yet  it  was  with 
spiritual  insight,  not  with  the  old  mortal  vision,  that 
she  beheld  her.  She  was  all  womanly,  made  for  deep 
household  loves.  With  all  her  sweet  beliefs,  she  was 
alone. 

"  Alice  left  me  this  morning,  and  I  am  in  the  world 
alone,"  was  the  message  she  sent  me,  hundreds  of 
miles  away,  the  day  that  Alice  died. 

Everything  was  hers,  but  what  did  it  avail  now? 
There  was  no  Alice  waiting  on  her  couch,  no  Alice 
at  the  table,  no  Alice  to  pour  out  long,  sweet  songs  in 
her  ear  ;  the  soul  of  her  soul  had  passed  from  her. 
Sin-  tried  to  sec:  the  light,  but  the  light  of  her  life  had 
gone  out. 

Phoebe's  resolution  was  to  go  on  with  her  own  life 
work,  not  as  if  her  sister  had  not  died,  but  as  if  m 
'4 


2IO  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

passing  away  she  had  left  a  double  work  for  her  to 
perform.  She  felt  that  she  had  not  only  her  own,  but 
Alice's  works  to  revise  and  edit,  Alice's  name  to 
honor  and  perpetuate.  For  the  first  time  in  her  life, 
the  impulse,  the  energy  to  do,  was  to  come  from  her- 
self alone.  It  could  not  be.  Unconsciously  she 
drooped.  There  was  no  Alice  to  whom  to  read  what 
she  had  written.  No  Alice  to  live  through  and  for, 
as  she  lived  through  her  and  for  her  for  so  many 
years.  The  tension  of  those  years  of  watching  and 
of  ceaseless  anxiety  broken,  the  reaction  of  unutter- 
able weariness  and  helplessness  told  how  fearful  had 
been  their  strain.  She  did  not  quiescently  yield  to  it. 
She  went  out  and  sought  her  friends.  She  called  her 
friends  in  to  her.  She  did  all  in  her  power  to  shake 
off  the  lethargy  stealing  upon  her  ;  not  only  to  believe, 
but  to  feel,  that  she  had  much  left  to  live  for.  In  vain. 
She  who  had  so  loved  to  live,  who  by  her  physical  as 
well  as  mental  constitution  could  take  delight  in  sim- 
ple existence  ;  she  who  was  in  sympathy  with  every 
hope  and  fear  which  animates  humanity,  came  to 
herself  at  last,  to  find  that  her  real  interest  had  all 
been  transferred  to  the  beloved  objects  who  had  passed 
within  the  veil  of  the  unseen  and  eternal. 

Possessing,  as  she  believed  she  did,  "  the  old  Cary 
constitution,"  with  a  vital  hold  on  life  which  no  other 
of  her  sisters  had  possessed,  she  made  her  plans  in 
expectation  of  long  life.  And  yet,  when  attacked 
with  what  seemed  to  be  slight  illness,  when  her  physi- 
cian spoke  hopefully  to  her  of  recovery,  she  replied, 
"  that  she  knew  of  no  reason  why  she  should  not 
recover,  except  that  she  neither  found,  nor  could 
excite,  any  desire  in  herself  to  do  so ;  and  this  she  said 


PHCEBE   CARY'S  DEATH.  211 

with  a  sort  of  wonder."  Sickness,  grief,  it  was  not  in 
her  power  to  bear.  They  struck  at  once  to  the  very 
core  of  life.  She  grew  gray  in  a  few  weeks.  She 
began  to  look  strangely  like  Alice.  Her  own  spark- 
ling expression  was  gone  \  and  in  the  stead,  her  whole 
face  took  on  the  pathetic,  appealing  look  of  her  sister. 
This  resemblance  increased  till  she  died.  "  She  grew 
just  like  Miss  Alice,"  said  Maria,  her  nurse,  after  her 
death.  "  She  grew  just  like  her  in  looks,  and  in  all 
her  ways.  Sometimes  it  seemed  as  if  she  was  Miss 
Alice." 

The  week  before  she  was  taken  sick,  returning  to 
New  York,  I  called  upon  her  at  once.  She  was  well, 
and  out  attending  the  meeting  of  a  convention.  I 
left  a  message  that,  as  it  would  be  impossible  for  me  to 
come  again  for  some  time,  I  should  await  her  prom- 
ised visit  in  my  own  home.  Weeks  passed,  in  which 
a  task  I  was  bound  in  honor  to  perform  by  a  certain 
time,  withheld  me  from  everything  else,  even  from 
the  reading  of  newspapers.  Yet  in  the  midst  of  it 
the  thought  of  Phoebe  often  came  to  me,  and  I  felt 
almost  hurt  at  her  non-appearance.  Long  after  its 
date,  a  miscarried  letter,  written  by  the  hand  of 
another,  came  to  me,  telling  of  her  sickness.  When  it 
reached  me,  she  had  already  gone  to  Newport.  I 
answered  it,  telling  her  that  had  I  known  of  her  state, 
I  should  have  left  everything  and  come  to  her,  as  I 
was  still  ready  to  do.  Carrying  the  letter  down  to 
post  without  delay,  I  took  up  the  "  Tribune,"  and  the 
first  line  on  which  my  eye  rested  was,  "The  death  of 
Phoebe  Gary." 

A  short  time  before,  Mrs.  Clymer,  the  niece  who 
nad  all  her  life-time  been  as  a  daughter  to  Alice  and 


212  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

Phoebe,  stood  over  the  death-bed  of  her  only  brother. 
She  closed  his  eyes  for  the  last  time,  to  lie  down  on 
her  own  bed  of  suffering,  to  which  she  was  bound  for 
weeks.  Lying  there,  she  learned  of  the  sickness  of 
her  aunt  Phcebe,  but  nothing  of  its  degree  \  the  latter 
withholding  it  from  her.  As  soon  as  she  was  able  to 
sit  up,  she  left  Cincinnati  for  Newport.  Reaching 
New  York,  and  stopping  at  the  house  on  Twentieth 
Street  for  tidings,  she  was  met  with  the  telegram  of 
her  aunt's  death. 

Such  were  the  inexorable  circumstances  which  with- 
held two  who  loved  her,  from  her  in  her  last  hours ; 
a  fact,  the  very  memory  of  which,  to  them,  must  be  an 
unavailing  and  life-long  sorrow.  Thus  it  was  with 
nearly  all  of  her  friends ;  they  were  out  of  the  city, 
far  from  her,  and  scarcely  knew  of  her  sickness  until 
they  read  the  announcement  of  her  death. 

She  felt  it  keenly  ;  and  in  her  last  loneliness  her 
loving  heart  would  call  out,  "Where  are  all  my 
friends  ? "  Yet  at  no  time  was  she  wholly  bereft  of 
the  ministrations  of  affection.  Hon.  Thomas  Jenckes, 
of  Providence,  Rhode  Island,  and  Mr.  Francis  Nye, 
of  New  York,  the  friend  and  executor  of  both  Alice 
and  herself,  made  every  arrangement  for  her  convey- 
ance to  Newport.  She  was  accompanied  thither  by  a 
devoted  lady  friend,  and  followed  thither  by  another, 
who  remained  with  her  till  after  her  death.  Mr.  Oliver 
Johnson  made  the  journey  to  Newport  expressly  to  see 
his  old  friend  in  her  lonely  and  suffering  state.  The 
lady  who  was  with  her  to  the  last,  Mrs.  Mary  Stevens 
Robinson,  daughter  of  Rev.  Dr.  Abel  Stevens  of  the 
Methodist  Episcopal  Church,  who,  beside  her  nurse 
Maria,  is  the  only  person  living  who  can  tell   truly  of 


MRS.   ROBINSON'S  LETTER.  213 

Phoebe  Cary's  last  hours,  has,  at  the  request  of  the 
writer,  kindly  sent  the  following  graphic  personal  rec- 
ollections of  Phoebe,  and  a  record  of  those  sad  days 
at  Newport.     She  says  :  — 

"I  first  met  with  Phoebe  Cary  .in  the  winter  of 
1853-4.  She  was  still  young  and  striking  in  her  ap- 
pearance, with  keen,  merry,  black  eyes,  full  of  intelli- 
gence and  spirit,  a  full,  well-proportioned  figure,  and 
very  characteristic  in  gesture,  aspect,  and  dress.  She 
was  fond  of  high  colors,  red,  orange,  etc.,  and  talked 
well  and  rapidly.  She  was  entirely  feminine  in  de- 
meanor, careful,  in  the  main,  of  the  sensibilities  of 
those  whom  she  addressed,  though  so  warm  by  nature, 
and  so  quick  in  her  thought,  as  to  be  sometimes 
thrown  off  guard  on  this  point,  in  the  ardor  of  dis- 
cussion. My  father  was  at  this  period  editor  of  a  mag- 
azine, and  Alice  was  one  of  his  contributors.  As  we 
lived  in  the  same  neighborhood,  we  exchanged  fre- 
quent visits  with  the  sisters  j  we  attending  their  even- 
ing receptions,  and  they  our  unceremonious  social 
gatherings.  At  these  companies  Phoebe's  conversation 
was  more  with  gentlemen  than  with  ladies;  partly  be- 
cause she  liked  them  better,  and  partly  because  they 
were  sure  to  be  entertained  by  her  ;  but  she  main- 
tained invariably  a  gentle  reserve,  was  never  ■  carried 
away'  in  the  ardor  or  brilliancy  of  talking.  Her  wit 
had  no  sting,  her  frankness  and  sincerity  were  those 
of  a  child,  and  she  was  always 'pure  womanly.'  In 
remarks  upon  persons  and  their  performances,  she 
was  free  and  discriminating.  Herein  it  was  perhaps 
less  habitual  for  her  to  use  restraint,  than  it  was  with 
Alice.  The  Latter  was  carefully,  conscientiously  just 
and  generous.     She  was  content  only  to  give  full  credit 


214  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE    CARY. 

for  whatever  was  commendable  in  others,  or  in  what 
they  accomplished. 

"  Our  removal  from  town,  and  other  interferences, 
Interrupted  this  acquaintance,  until,  one  spring  day 
some  five  or  six  years  ago,  I  chanced  to  meet  Phcebe 
in  a  store,  on  the  quest  of  shopping,  like  myself.  We 
exchanged  warm  greetings,  talked  perhaps  for  five 
minutes  ;  but  instead  of  the  usual  formulas,  her  words 
were  so  fresh  and  piquant  that  I  recall  them  even 
now.  I  mentioned  the  fact  of  my  father's  being  pastor 
of  a  Methodist  church  at  Mamaroneck.  '  I  don't 
belong  among  the  Methodists,'  said  Phcebe,  in  her 
reply,  '  but  whenever  I  feel  my  heart  getting  chilly,  I 
go  to  a  meeting  of  your  people,  —  any  kind  of  a  meet- 
ing. Their  warmth  is  genuine  and  irresistible.  It  is 
contagious,  too,  and  has  crept  inside  other  walls  than 
your  own.' 

"  When  I  asked  her  to  visit  us,  she  answered  in  her 
ready  way:  'Well,  if  you  will,  I  will  come  to-morrow. 
Alice  is  away,  and  J  can  leave  now,  better  than  when 
she  comes  back.' 

"  Yes,  Alice  was  away.  I  discovered  afterward  that 
this  cheery  soul,  who  could  sing  songs,  get  books  into 
market,  and  whose  plenitude  of  spirits  was  apparently 
unfailing,  whose  very  gait,  at  once  smooth  and  rapid, 
expressed  swift  and  direct  force,  this  hearty,  happy 
woman,  pined  somewhat  when  severed  from  her  mate. 
In  the  stillness  of  the  house  her  gayety  drooped,  and 
she  had  no  one  to  think  of.  The  tender  curves  of  her 
mouth,  the  arch  of  her  eyelids,  something  round  and 
child-like  in  the  whole  contour,  betokened  this  depend- 
ence of  affection  in  her. 

"  She  came  to  us  on  the  morrow,  told  numberless 


MRS.   R  OBINSON  'S  LE  TTER.  2 1 5 

Btories  and  jests,  talked  with  her  habitual  earnestness, 
bordering  on  vehemence  when  the  conversation  turned 
on  spiritualism  (apologizing  afterward,  fearing  she 
had  'foi gotten  herself),  and  seemed  heartily  to  enjoy 
everything  connected  with  her  visit.  We  were  all 
comfortable  in  her  presence,  and  utterly  ignored  that 
slight  constraint  one  often  experiences  along  with  the 
pleasure  of  having  a  guest  in  the  house.  The  second 
day  was  rainy,  so  she  could  not  ride  out,  as  we  had 
planned,  to  see  the  scenes  of  the  neighborhood.  But 
she  fell  to  discoursing  on  the  charms  of  a  wet  day  in 
a  country  house,  the  fresh,  growing  verdure  without, 
the  open  fire,  the  friendly  aspect  of  a  library,  the  con- 
verse on  men,  women,  and  books,  till  we  ceased  to 
regret  the  weather,  and  congratulated  ourselves  silently 
through  the  day,  saying,  '  What  a  happy  time,  what  a 
charming  rainy  day  we  are  having  !  ' 

"  In  the  course  of  conversation  some  one  remarked 
her  resemblance  to  Sappho,  as  she  is  known  to  us  by 
the  bust,  and  by  descriptions  ;  the  olive-brown  tint,  the 
stature  rather  under  size,  the  low  brow,  etc.  Phoebe 
accepted  the  comparison  smilingly,  in  silence,  but  with 
a  natural,  modest  pleasure.  She  won  the  favor  of  a 
child,  the  only  one  in  the  family.  He  wanted  a  poem, 
but  dared  not  ask  for  it.  Later,  when  the  request 
reached  her  ears,  she  sent  him  some  simple,  character- 
istic verses  upon  himself. 

u  During  this  visit,  as  often  afterward,  I  could  but 
note  the  rapid  movement  of  her  mind.  "She  thought 
quickly,  spoke  quickly  ;  never  chattering  nonsense,  nor 
filling  spaces  of  conversation  with  phrases,  but  always 
racy,  healthful  utterances,  full  of  sense,  wit,  and  vigor. 
Her  natural  simplicity  never  forsook  her ;  something  of 


2l6  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

rural  life,  of  virgin  soil,  the  clear  breeziness  of  Western 
plains  was  suggested  by  her  character,  as  manifested 
in  speech,  aspect,  and  manner. 

"  After  this  visit  I  did  not  see  her  again  till  the  day 
of  Alice's  funeral.  There,  her  extreme  but  restrained 
grief  touched  my  heart ;  for  Death  had  entered  my  own 
door,  and  borne  away  my  best-beloved.  When  she 
turned  from  her  last  look  at  her  sister's  face,  and  was 
supported  by  friends  to  her  seat,  it  was  plain  that  this 
bereavement  had  taken  hold  of  the  roots  of  her  life, 
had  drowned  its  bases  in  tears.  I  sent  a  note  of  sym- 
pathy, not  wishing  to  intrude  upon  her  sorrow.  But 
some  weeks  later,  hearing  that  she  was  much  alone, 
and  needed  society,  1  called  one  evening,  and  con- 
tinued my  visits  weekly  and  finally  daily,  up  to  her  last 
departure  from  town.  In  some  measure,  she  recovered 
her  natural  flow  of  spirits.  Once,  speaking  of  the 
Franco-German  war,  I  said  that  the  French  more  than 
any  other  nation  were  tainted  with  the  virus  of  Roman 
corruption,  as  evident  in  the  latter  (Roman)  empire, 
instancing  their  epicurism,  sensuality,  cruelty,  ostenta- 
tion, luxury,  etc. 

" '  I  see,'  said  Phcebe,  *  you  think  they  are  still  in 
the  gall  of  bitterness  and  bond  of  iniquity.' 

"  She  liked  to  talk  of  love  and  marriage,  though 
entirely  reticent  of  her  own  affaires  du  cceur ;  and  she 
was  not  without  them.  On  those  subjects  she  spoke 
with  a  woman's  heart,  and  conceived  the  noblest  ideals 
of  them. 

11  ■  Whenever  I  write  a  story,  often  when  only  a 
poem,'  she  said  once,  '  it  must  turn  upon  love.' 

"  One  evening,  the  first  birthday  of  Alice  after  her 
death,  I  made  one  of  a  tea-party  of  four  at  the  little 


MRS.   ROBINSON'S  LETTER.  217 

house  where  so  many  guests  had  been  so  charmingly  en- 
tertained.    An  elderly  widow,  Mrs.  C ,  who  stayed 

with  Phcebe  after  Alice's  death,  an  old  friend,  Miss 

Mary  B ,  Phcebe,  and  myself  surrounded  the  table. 

The  snug  dining-room,  the  old-fashioned  tea-sendee, 
the  quaint  china,  the  light  biscuit,  sweet  butter,  all  the 
dishes  commeilfaut,  everything  bespeaking  a  carefully- 
ordered  domestic  life  —  I  am  sure  you  can  recall  sim- 
ilar evenings  full  of  the  same  delightful  impressions. 
We  had  jellied  chicken  that  Phcebe  had  tried  for  the 
first  time,  for  the  occasion,  and  with  entire  success.  We 
gossiped  over  our  fragrant  tea,  and  smiled  at  ourselves, 
a  gathering  of  lone  women ;  and  all  agreed  that  the 
hostess  was  less  like  an  old  maid  than  any  of  the  others. 
Cheerful  she  was,  in  truth,  much  like  her  natural  self ; 

yet  in  the  evening,  sitting  apart  with  Miss  B ,  she 

confessed  that  the  absence  of  Alice  affected  her  seri- 
ously j  that  when  she  tried  to  write,  no  words  would 
come  ;  that  failing  here,  she  turned  to  household  affairs, 
but  could  scarcely  accomplish  anything.  Every  morn- 
ing her  first  thought  on  waking  was,  '  Here  is  another 
leaden  day  to  get  through  with  ;  it  will  be  precisely  like 
yesterday,  and  such  will  be  all  days  in  all  time  to 
come  !  ' 

"  Plainly  the  watching  and  anxiety  of  the  previous 
year  had  jarred  her  nerves.  They  were  firmly  set  by 
nature,  but  through  her  illness  their  attenuation  became 
extremely  painful  ;  they  grew  sharp  and  fine  as  the 
worn  strings  of  an  instrument  ;  it  was  as  if  one  could 
see  them  stretched  tOO  long,  and  too  tensely  —  about 
to  snap,  as  they  did,  indeed,  at  last 

'•  I  >ne  Wednesday  afternoon  I  stopped  at  the  d 
and  hearing  that  she  was  lying  down,  1  simply  • 


218  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

bouquet  with  my  love.  When  next  I  called,  she  entered 
the  room  with  a  poem  about  my  flowers,  the  last  verses 
she  ever  wrote,  about  the  last  paper  that  she  touched 
with  a  pen.  It  seems  that  on  the  day  of  my  former 
call  she  had  given  the  morning  to  a  memorial  article 
of  Alice  (for  the  '  Ladies  Repository '  of  Boston)  and 
being  quite  worn  out  when  it  was  done,  lay  down  to 
rest  My  flowers  were  brought  freshly-cut,  moistened 
by  some  drops  of  a  spring  shower,  and  set  on  a  stand 
by  her  lounge.     She  looked  at  thorn  a  few  minutes, 

rose  quickly,  '  as  if  quite  rested,'  Mrs.  C said,  was 

gone  about  twenty  minutes  in  the  opposite  room,  and 
returned  with  this  pretty  resolution  of  thanks. 

"  Shortly  afterward  we  attended  the  anniversary  of 
one  of  the  Woman  Suffrage  Societies,  where  we  heard 
Mrs.  Livermore,  Grace  Greenwood,  Dr.  Eggleston, 
Mrs.  Howe,  Lucy  Stone,  and  others.  Miss  Cary's 
interest  in  the  movement  was  strong,  and  her  remarks 
on  the  speakers  just,  and  admirably  to  the  point.  She 
was  then  apparently  as  well  and  as  cheerful  as  usual. 

"  The  following  Sunday  she  passed  in  New  Jersey, 
with  her  friends,  Mrs.  Victor  and  Mrs.  Rayl.  On  her 
return,  Monday,  she  was  seized  with  a  chill,  which 
recurred  more  or  less  regularly  for  upwards  of  three 
weeks.  They  were  extremely  severe  ;  the  suffering 
and  exhaustion,  for  the  time,  were  like  those  of  death 
itself.  Her  appetite  grew  capricious,  and  soon  failed 
altogether.  We  tried  to  tempt  it*by  following  her  fan- 
cies ;  but  as  soon  as  a  new  dish  or  drink  was  brought, 
she  ceased  to  care  for  it.  A  stomachic  cough  con- 
nected with  a  derangement  of  the  liver,  that  was  com- 
mon to  the  entire  family,  and  imperfect  sleep,  combined 
10  undermine  her  strength.     She  suffered  no  pain,  but 


MRS.  ROBINSON'S  LETTER.  219 

an  appalling  misery,  attended  with  extreme  depression 
of  spirits.  She  lamented  often  her  lonely  and  forlorn 
condition,  and  said  her  illness  was  '  quite  as  much  in 
the  mind  as  in  the  body.'  This  however,  was  an 
attendant  symptom  of  her  malady. 

"After  seeing  her  at  the  time  of  Alice's  funeral, 
most  of  her  friends  were  too  busy  in  the  affairs  of 
spring,  etc.,  to  make  visits  ;  and  she  had  been  ill  for 
several  weeks,  before  any  of  them  knew  of  her  afflic- 
tion. I  visited  her  daily,  answered  her  correspon- 
dence, read  much  aloud,  laughed,  and  chatted  ;  did 
anything  I  could  to  alleviate  the  mortal  weariness 
that  had  come  over  her.  She  confessed  to  no  confi- 
dence in  any  medical  aid.  Invalids  had  not  been 
wanting  in  the  family  ;  and  no  physician  or  medicine 
had  availed  for  them.  She  thought  that  when  they 
were  so  ill  as  to  need  the  regular  visits  of  a  physician, 
they  were  subjects  for  death.  Occasionally  the  old 
vigor  would  shine  forth  for  a  day  j  but  it  was  sure  to 
be  followed  by  a  relapse. 

"  On  one  of  these  better  evenings,  her  friends,  Miss 
Mary  L.  Booth  and  Mrs.  Wright,  called  to  see  her. 
She  lay  on  her  lounge,  and  talked  with  much  of  her 
former  vivacity  ;  recounted  an  accident  that  had  hap- 
pened some  nights  previously.  Feeling  restless  and 
feverish,  she  had  risen  in  the  dark  and  made  her  way 
to  the  bath-room,  wishing  to  bathe  her  head.  In  the 
dark  she  fell,  hit  her  head  against  a  chair  with  such 
force  as  to  cut  it,  fainted,  and  lay  insensible  till  re- 
stored to  consciousness  by  the  air  from  an  open  win- 
iow.  She  then  crept  back  to  her  couch,  and 
*bund  quite  exhausted  in  the  morning.  This  serious 
accident  she  related  with  all  the  lightness  it  would 
admit,  and  actually  made  sport  of  some  of  the  details. 


«20  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

" '  You  have  read  in  sensation  stones  of  heroines 
weltering  in  their  gore,'  she  said  ;  '  I  understand  now 
exactly  what  that  means,  for  I  lay  and  weltered  in  my 
gore  for  the  best  of  the  night,  and  it  was  a  very  dis- 
agreeable proceeding  :  I  never  want  to  welter  again.' 

"As  her  strength  declined  each  day  instead  of 
mending,  she  was  possessed  of  a  desire  to  go  away, 
and  was  persuaded  that  an  entire  change  would  be  of 
benefit.  But  in  her  invalid  state  she  was  unwilling 
to  impose  herself  on  any  of  her  friends.  Finally  we 
persuaded  her  to  accept  a  very  cordial  invitation  from 
Mrs.  H.  O.  Houghton  of  Cambridge,  Mass.,  wife  of 
Mr.  Houghton,  the  publisher.  Preparations  were 
made  for  the  journey ;  but  on  the  day  appointed  for 
it,  she  was  too  ill  to  be  moved  from  her  room,  and 
the  plan  was  abandoned. 

"  We  then  considered  several  places,  deciding  at 
last  upon  Newport,  as  offering  homelike  quarters, 
with  two  single  ladies,  sisters,  of  a  Quaker  family  with 
whom  I  was  acquainted.  It  was  arranged  for  Mr. 
Jenckes  (of  Providence)  and  Mrs.  Rayl  to  escort  her 
thither,  while  I  was  to  follow  a  fortnight  later.  The 
journey  taxed  her  severely,  and  prostrated  her  to 
such  an  extent  for  some  days  after  her  arrival,  that  her 
life  was  despaired  of.  The  air,  that  we  hoped  would 
prove  medicinal,  was  thought  to  be  too  strong  for  her 
shattered  frame,  though  the  house  stands  a  mile  from 
the  sea.  Whether  it  was  too  strong  or  not,  I  cannot 
tell ;  she  herself  chose  it  in  preference  to  mountain 
air  j  but  she  sank  steadily  after  reaching  Newport,  and 
was  too  feeble  to  bear  removal.  She  had  been  for 
nearly  three  months  without  regular  or  healthful  rest. 
She  ate  and  drank  almost  nothing,  could  not  lie  down. 


MRS.  ROBINSON'S  LETTER.  231 

but  sat  most  of  the  time  in  a  chair,  leaning  forward, 
supported  on  pillows,  or  was  propped  up  in  the  bed. 
From  dawn  till  eight  or  nine  o'clock  she  was  in  the 
sharpest  misery ;  for  the  rest  she  sat  with  closed  eyes 
in  a  semi-stupor,  from  which  she  would  arouse  when 
addressed. 

"  Reading  and  conversation  were  given  over.  But 
one  day  I  found  Mr.  Whittier's  poem  on  Alice,  in 
'  The  Atlantic,'  '  The  Singer,'  and  read  it  at  her  re- 
quest. When  I  had  half  done  I  paused,  thinking  she 
had  fallen  asleep  j  but  she  lifted  her  eyes,  and  asked 
why  I  did  not  go  on.  *  It  was  all  one  could  wish  or 
ask  for/  she  said,  on  hearing  it  to  the  close. 

"Such  nursing  as  she  required  was  very  simple. 
To  fan  away  the  flies,  give  the  medicine  at  regular 
hours,  change  her  position  frequently,  lift  her  from  the 
chair  to  the  bed  and  back  again,  and  bathe  her  swol- 
len feet  in  salt  water  j  this  was  nearly  all  that  could  be 
done.  Of  food  and  drink  she  took  very  little,  and  that 
mainly  cold  milk,  beef  tea,  or  iced  claret.  Some  two 
or  three  times  the  doctor's  prescriptions  were  too  pow- 
erful for  her  exhausted  frame,  and  caused  severe  pain, 
accompanied  with  delirium.  She  would  then  rave  at 
Maria  and  myself,  upbraiding  us  as  the  cause  of  her 
sufferings  j  but  the  frenzy  past,  she  was  gentle  and 
sweet,  like  her  usual  self.  One  evening,  in  a  paroxysm 
of  this  sort,  she  begged  to  be  laid  on  the  floor,  and 
after  expostulating  in  vain,  we  spread  a  quilt  down,  and 
Laid  her  on  it.  Here  she  remained  for  above  two 
hours,  1  standing  over  her,  and  by  slow  degrees  lift- 
ing her  back  to  the  bed.  But  these  sad  aberrations 
were  not  frequent  nor  lasting.  They  ceased  with  the 
harmful  medicines. 


122  ALICE  AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  Many  persons  in  Newport,  learning  of  her  illness 
called  to  leave  their  condolences ;  among  others,  Mr. 
Higginson,  and  Mrs.  Parton.  Her  friend  Oliver 
Johnson  called  twice,  and  though  almost  too  weak 
to  speak,  she  saw  him  both  times.  The  first  was  on 
Saturday,  when  he  promised  to  call  again  the  next 
day.  The  tears  rolled  down  his  face  as  he  beheld  her 
altered  aspect ;  her  reception  of  him  was  most  affec- 
tionate. On  Sunday  evening  she  seemed  quite  im- 
proved ;  told  the  doctor  she  believed  she  had  begun 
to  get  well,  and  wanted  to  be  all  dressed  for  Mr.  John- 
son's call :  but  for  that  preparation  she  was  not  equal. 
I  had  not  been  out  for  some  time,  therefore  went  to 
church  in  the  morning,  leaving  her  with  Maria.  On 
my  return  I  found  her  still  comfortable,  though  ex- 
tremely restless,  wishing  to  be  moved  every  five  or  ten 
minutes.  '  Don't  mind  if  you  pull  me  limb  from  limb,' 
she  said  quite  placidly.  '  Pull  me  about,'  was  her  con- 
stant request.  I  repeated  much  of  the  sermon,  and  she 
commented  on  it  in  her  naturally  rapid  manner.  All 
this  day  she  was  more  or  less  talkative.  She  saw  Mr. 
Johnson,  who  left  with  her  a  nosegay  of  sweet-peas  of 
rare  varieties.  Their  odor  was  that  of  sweet  apples, 
and  this  I  spoke  of.  '  Who  said  anything  of  sweet  ap- 
ples ? '  she  asked,  lifting  her  eyes.  When  I  made  the 
comparison  again,  she  buried  her  face  repeatedly  in  the 
flowers,  crushing  them  in  her  strong  desire  to  extract 
their  fragrance.  She  thought  she  would  like  a  sweet 
apple,  but,  when  it  was  brought,  could  only  smell  of  it. 
That  afternoon,  sitting  on  the  edge  of  the  bed,  she 
kissed  and  caressed  Maria,  talked  of  how  they  would 
go  home,  went  over  pleasantly  every  detail  of  the  an 
ticipated   journey  as    a   child    would    talk   of  it,    and 


. 


MRS.  ROBINSON'S  LETTER.  223 

seemed  altogether  so  tranquil  and  comfortable  that 
any  one  unaware  of  her  low  state  might  have  hoped 
for  convalescence.  But  we  could  entertain  no  such 
hope. 

"  The  restlessness  increased  all  the  next  day,  though 
in  other  respects  she  remained  comfortable.  Several 
times  I  lifted  her  alone  from  the  chair  to  the  bed,  though 
how,  I  can  hardly  tell  now.  It  was  something  I  could 
do  better  than  the  others,  for  they  invariably  hurt  her ; 
but  generally  Maria  helped  me.  In  the  evening  her 
restlessness  increased,  so  that  she  could  not  lie  still  a 
moment.  I  was  quite  worn  out,  and  for  the  first  time, 
went  early  to  a  little  room  on  the  floor  above,  leaving 
a  written  report  for  the  doctor,  who  generally  called  at 
eleven.  I  noticed  when  I  went  up-stairs  that  the  moon 
was  shining,  and  that  all  was  perfectly  still ;  not  so 
much  as  a  leaf  was  stirring.  I  lay  quiet,  but  awake  ; 
heard  the  doctor  enter,  and  go  into  her  room. 

"  Suddenly  a  gust  of  wind  wailed  through  the  house, 
and  blew  my  door  shut.  A  moment  after  I  heard 
Phoebe's  voice  in  a  faint,  but  piercing  cry,#  and  some 
one  came  up  for  me.  I  was  two  or  three  minutes  in 
putting  on  a  wrapper,  etc.,  in  the  room  adjoining  hers, 
but  all  was  still  in  there.  When  I  entered,  her  eyes 
were  closed,  and  the  repose  of  death  was  settling  on 
her  brow.  The  death  throe  had  seized  her,  but  it 
lasted  for  a  moment  only,  and  for  this  I  gave  thanks 

even  at    that  hour,  for  she  had  such  fear  of  pain  ;  and 

though  she  suffered   much,  yet  of  actual  pain   she   had 

but  little  from  the  beginning  to  this  last  hour.     'This 

ifully  ordered,  in  view  of  her  peculiar  inability 

to  bear  acute  suffering.      A.ftei    death,  her    face,  almost 

Immediately,  wore  a  tranquil  .smile  —  a  smile  as  through 


224  ALICE  AND   PffCEBE   CARY. 

tears,  of  sunlight  shining  through  rain ;  and  though 
I  saw  it  no  more  after  the  last  offices  of  the  hour  were 
rendered,  I  was  told  that  till  the  coffin-lid  closed  finally 
upon  it,  this  repose  remained  stamped  there.  Thus 
passed  away  one  of  the  dearest  souls  that  God  ever  set 
on  the  earth." 

Maria's  story  of  that  hour  which  she  spent  alone 
with  Phoebe,  Phoebe's  last  hour  in  this  world,  is  most 
touching.  "  She  could  not  lie  down,  but  she  was  so 
restless,"  said  Maria  ;  "  she  kept  saying  to  me,    Maria, 

put  my  hair  back.     There  !  —  that   is  just   as 's 

hand  used  to  feel  on  my  forehead  —  so  gentle.  And 
to  think  that  you  and  I  are  in  the  world  alone  —  that 
after  all,  I've  nobody  but  you,  Maria !  Everybody  else 
gone  so  far  away.  Where  are  my  friends  ?  Well, 
when  we  go  back  we  won't  live  alone  any  longer,  will 
we  ?  We  won't  live  alone  as  we  did  last  spring.  We'll 
open  the  house  and  fill  it,  won't  we,  Maria.'  .... 
'But  if  you  go  back,  and  I  don't  know,  don't  let  me 
look  ugly  to  my  friends  ;  go  out  and  buy  me  a  white 
dress.  All  my  life  I've  wanted  to  wear  a  white  dress, 
and  I  never  could,  because  I  was  so  dark.  I  think  I 
could  wear  one  the?i.  Put  it  on  me  yourself,  Maria, 
and  cover  me  all  over  with  flowers,  so  I  shall  not 
look  gloomy  and  dreadful  to  anybody  who  looks  on  me 
for  the  last  time.'  " 

Thus  she  talked,  one  moment  as  if  they  were  going 
back  to  life  and  the  old  home  on  Twentieth  Street,  with 
uttered  yearnings  for  friends,  and  an  outreaching  to- 
ward a  mortal  future  full  of  sunshine  and  human  com- 
panionship ;  the  next,  speaking  as  if  her  death  were 
certain,  the  feminine  instinct  of  decoration,  the  longing 
lO  look  pleasant  to  those  she  loved,  strong  even  in  dis- 
solution. 


PHCEBE   CARY'S  DEATH.  225 

The  loving  heart  was  mightier  than  all.  She  would 
suddenly  stop  her  low,  rapid  utterances,  and  stretching 
out  her  arms  throw  them  around  Maria's  neck,  cov- 
ering her  face  with  caresses  and  kisses,  ending  always 
with  the  words :  "  You  and  I  are  all  alone,  Maria. 
After  ally  I've  nobody  but  you  /"  bestowing  upon  her  in 
that  moment  some  of  her  most  precious  personal  treas- 
ures. 

Without  an  instant's  warning  the  death  throe  came. 
She  knew  it.  Throwing  up  her  arms  in  instinctive 
fright,  this  loving,  believing,  but  timid  soul,  who  had 
never  stood  alone  in  all  her  mortal  life,  as  she  felt  her- 
self drifting  out  into  the  unknown,  the  eternal,  starting 
on  the  awful  passage  from  whence  there  is  no  return 
cried,  in  a  low,  piercing  voice,  "  O  God,  have  mercy  on 
my  soul !"  and  died. 

She  had  her  wish.  The  white  robe  that  she  had  so 
longed  all  her  life  to  wear,  fell  in  fleecy  folds  about  her 
in  death.  She  slept  amid  flowers,  fresh  and  fragrant 
The  tender  heart  whose  depth  of  affection  had  never 
been  fully  seen  or  felt  within  its  outward  shield  of  re- 
splendent wit,  now  shone  through  and  transfigured 
every  feature.  Every  lineament  was  smiling,  childlike, 
loving.  She  had  her  wish.  No  look  on  the  living 
face  of  Phoebe  Gary  was  ever  so  sweet  as  the  last. 

Phoebe  Cary  died  at  Newport,  Rhode  Island,  Mon- 
July  31,  1871.  Her  body  was  brought  to  the 
empty  house  Oil  Twentieth  Street,  New  York,  and  from 
thence  was  taken  fur  funeral  services  to  All  Souls 
Church,  corner  of  Fourth  Avenue  and  Twentieth  Street, 
who  iming  and  going,  Phoebe  had  so 

watched  from  her  chamber  window,  with  emo 
•jf  affection.      Her   funeral    was   attended   by  her   four 
'5 


226  ALICE   AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

nieces,  by  the  few  of  her  many  friends  at  that  time  left 
in  the  heated  city,  and  by  a  goodly  company  of  stran- 
gers to  whom  her  name  was  dear.  The  services  were 
intrusted  to  the  Rev.  A.  G.  Laurie,  a  Scottish  Univer- 
salist  clergyman,  and  Rev.  Bernard  Peters,  both  old 
and  dear  friends  of  the  Cary  family,  the  former  having 
known  Phoebe  from  childhood.  The  "  New  York 
Tribune,"  speaking  of  the  solemnities,  said  :  — 

"  The  body  was  placed  in  the  centre  aisle,  near  the 
chancel,  the  organ  playing  a  dirge.  When  the  attend- 
ants had  arranged  the  final  details,  and  the  last  strains 
of  music  were  dying  away,  a  cloud  that  had  obscured 
the  sun  passed  from  before  it,  and  the  whole  church 
was  illumined  by  soft,  golden  tints,  seemingly  indicative 
of  the  glory  which  awaited  the  peaceful  spirit  that  had 
so  recently  passed  away." 

At  the  conclusion  of  Mr.  Laurie's  affectionate  and 
tearful  address,  he  read  Phoebe's  hymn,  "  Nearer 
Home,"  which  was  sung  by  the  choir,  who  also  sang 
the  following  hymn,  written  by  the  officiating  clergy- 
man :  — 

O  stricken  heart,  what  spell  shall  move  thee, 
What  charm  shall  lift  that  grief  away, 

Which,  like  a  leaden  mist  above  thee, 
Shuts  out  the  shining  of  the  day  ? 

Is  out  of  sight  the  friend  unto  thee 

'Fore  every  friend  that  sat  the  first  ? 
Let  not  her  silence  thus  undo  thee  ; 

The  blank  of  Death  is  not  its  worst 

And  never  shade  of  wrong  lay  on  her ; 

She  loved  her  kith,  her  kind,  her  God, 
And  from  her  mind  returned  the  Donor 

Rich  harvest  for  the  seed  He  sowed. 


THE   FUNERAL.  227 

She  died  in  stress  of  love  and  duty, 
On  others  spent  her  work  and  will ; 

Unself —  O,  Christ,  thy  chiefest  beauty 
Was  hers,  and  she  is  with  Thee  still. 

Then,  smitten  heart,  renew  thy  gladness  : 

Rejoice  that  thou  canst  not  forget ; 
In  every  pulse,  with  solemn  sadness, 

Unseen,  but  present,  feel  her  yet." 

Horace  Greeley  and  others  went  as  far  as  they  could 
with  this  dear  friend  on  her  long  journey.  When  they 
saw  all  that  was  mortal  of  this  last  sister  of  her  race 
laid  in  Greenwood,  and  turned  back  to  her  empty 
house,  they  realized  with  unspoken  sorrow  that  its  last 
light  had  gone  out,  and  that  the  home  in  Twentieth 
Street  was  left  desolate  forever. 


»28  ALICE   AND   PHCEBE   CARY. 


CHAPTER  XII. 

THE  SISTERS  COMPARED.  —  THEIR  LAST  RESTING-PLACE, 

It  is  impossible  to  estimate  either  sister  without  any 
reference  to  the  other,  —  as  impossible  as  to  tell  what  a 
husband  and  wife,  modifed  in  habit  and  character  by 
many  years  of  wedded  life,  would  have  been  had  they 
never  lived  together. 

Alice  Cary  was  remarkable  for  the  fullness  and  ten- 
derness of  her  emotional  nature,  and  for  the  depth  and 
fidelity  of  her  affections  j  through  these  she  was  all  soft- 
ness and  gentleness.  But  mentally  she  was  a  strong 
woman  —  strong  in  will,  energy,  industry,  and  patience  ; 
through  these  she  faced  fate  with  a  masculine  strength 
of  courage  and  endurance.  It  was  not  easy,  but  her 
will  was  strong  enough  to  compel  her  life  to  do  noble 
service. 

Phoebe,  mentally  and  emotionally,  was  in  every  attri- 
bute essentially  feminine.  The  terror  of  her  mortal 
life  was  responsibility.  It  seemed  absolutely  necessary 
to  her  existence  to  know  that  somebody  stood  between 
her  and  all  the  inexorable  demands  and  exigencies  of 
this  world.  "  I  believe  a  consciousness  of  responsi- 
bility could  kill  Phcebe,  even  if  she  were  in  perfect 
health,"  said  Alice.  "  She  does  not  wish  to  feel  respon- 
sibility for  anything,  not  even  for  the  saving  of  her 
>wn  soul  ;  for  that  reason  alone  she  would  be  a  Romar 


THE   CARY  SISTERS.  2  29 

Catholic  if  she  could,  and  lay  the  whole  burden  of  her 
salvation  on  the  Church.  Unfortunately  for  her  com- 
fort, the  literalness  of  her  mind  makes  that  impossi- 
ble." 

Alice  Cary  was  preeminently,  and  in  the  highest 
and  finest  sense,  an  attractive  woman.  She  was 
beloved  of  women.  Young  girls  were  drawn  toward 
her  in  a  sort  of  idolatry,  and  she  was  universally 
beloved  of  men.  No  man  could  come  within  the 
sphere  of  her  presence  without  feeling  all  that  was 
most  tender,  chivalric,  and  true  in  his  manhood,  in- 
stinctively going  forth  toward  the  woman  by  his  side. 
It  was  the  fine  potent  power  of  her  femininity,  her  gen- 
tleness, and  sincerity,  her  tenderness  and  purity,  which 
inspired-all  that  was  most  tender  and  reverent  in  him. 
This  feeling  of  sacred  affection  for  Alice  Cary  was  felt 
by  all  men  who  were  her  friends,  no  matter  how 
various  or  conflicting  their  tastes  might  be  in  other 
things.  When  the  loveliness  of  her  face  was  not  that 
of  youth,  there  were  artists  who  used  to  go  to  her 
house  Sabbath  evening  after  Sabbath  evening,  "  just 
to  look  upon  her  face."  Said  one,  "  It  grows  more 
beautiful  every  year." 

Alice  was  tall  and  graceful,  with  a  suggestion  of 
majesty  in  her  simple  mien.  Her  dark  eyes  were  of 
a  wonderful  softness  and  beauty,  with  a  fathomless 
depth  of  tenderness  in  their  expression,  which  men  and 
even  women  love.  Yet  there  were  not  wanting  lines 
pf  firmness  and  energy  about  the  feminine  mouth,  and 
there  was  an  impression  of  silent  power  pervading  her 
very  gentleness.     Phoebe  had  all   the   soft  contours, 

the   Complexion,  hair,  and  eves,  of  a    Spanish   woman. 

ind  with  her   sparkle   and  repartee   she  had    besides  a 


230 


ALICE   AND  PHCEBE    CARY. 


Spaniard's  languors.  She  was  slightly  below  ordinary 
height  i  full,  without  being  heavy  in  outline.  The  pre- 
vailing expression  of  Alice's  countenance  was  one 
of  sadness,  pervaded  with  extreme  sweetness  ;  but 
Phoebe's  black  eyes  sparkled  as  she  talked,  and  even 
when  her  face  was  in  repose  there  was  upon  it  the  trace 
of  a  smile.  Alice  dressed  with  rich  simplicity,  and  in 
the  most  resplendent  drawing-room  would  have  been 
noticed  as  one  of  the  most  elegant  women  in  it. 
Phoebe,  in  her  more  animated  moments,  would  have 
been  marked  for  her  dark,  brilliant  beauty,  and  would 
have  reminded  you  of  an  Oriental  princess  in  the  warm 
brightness  of  her  colors,  and  the  distinctive  character 
of  her  ornaments. 

The  mental  contrasts  of  the  sisters  were  as  marked 
as  their  physical.  Alike  in  tastes  and  aspiration,  they 
were  unlike  in  temperament,  in  their  habit  of  thought 
and  of  action.  Each,  in  her  own  way,  out  of  her  own 
life,  sacrificed  much  to  the  other,  —  how  much  only 
God  and  their  own  souls  knew.  Out  of  this  mutual 
sacrifice  was  welded  a  bond  stronger  and  closer  than 
many  sisters  know ;  through  their  life-long  association, 
their  sympathy,  their  very  sisterhood,  it  drew  them 
nearer  and  nearer  together  to  the  end.  It  produced  at 
last  an  identification  of  existence  such  as  we  see  where 
the  natures  of  husband  and  wife  have  become  perfectly 
assimilated  because  their  life  and  fate  are  one. 

Notwithstanding  the  unity  of  their  pursuits,  the 
identity  of  their  interests,  their  utter  devotion  to  each 
other,  outside  of  this  dual  life  each  sister  lived  dis- 
tinctly and  separately  her  own  existence.  Each 
respected  absolutely  the  personal  peculiarities  of  the 
other,   and    never    consciously  intruded    upon    them. 


THE  CARY  SISTERS.  23 1 

Each  thought  and  wrought  in  as  absolute  solitude  as 
if  she  alone  were  in  the  house.  The  results  of  the 
labor  they  shared  together  ;  but  not  the  labor.  Each 
respected  so  much  the  idiosyncrasies  of  the  other's 
mind,  that  neither  ever  thought  of  criticising  the  other's 
work.  If  one  offered  a  suggestion,  it  was  because  the 
other  requested  her  to  do  so. 

Both  had  ways  that  at  times  were  not  altogether 
satisfactory  to  the  other.  Each  accepted  them  as  a 
part  of  the  cross  that  she  must  bear  for  her  sister,  and 
she  did  not  complain,  nor  did  it  cause  any  bitterness. 
For  example,  Alice's  tireless  energy  and  unswerving 
will  at  times  wearied  Phoebe,  though  she  found  in  both 
the  staff  and  support  of  her  life,  while  Phoebe's 
inertia  was  a  much  more  perpetual  trial  to  Alice.  She 
recognized  the  fact  that  she  could  not  make  the  active 
law  of  her  own  being  that  of  Phoebe's,  and  acquiesced, 
but  not  always  with  inward  resignation, 

According  to  Phoebe's  own  testimony,  Alice  used 
mind  and  body  unsparingly  whenever  she  could  com- 
pel them  to  obey  her  will.  With  all  a  woman's  soft- 
ness, she  met  the  responsibilities  of  life  as  a  man  meets 
them.  She  never  stopped  to  inquire  whether  she  felt 
like  doing  a  task,  no  matter  how  disagreeable  it  might 
be.  If  it  was  to  be  done  she  did  it,  and  without  words 
and  without  delay. 

It  was  Phoebe,  the  protected  and  sheltered  one,  who 
consulted  her  moods.  Perhaps  this  was  scarcely  a 
fault ;  she  obeyed  the  law  of  her  being  and  the  law  of 
her  life  in  this.  Had  she  compelled  her  powers  tc 
produce  a  given  amount  of  work,  as  Alice  did,  without 
doubt  it  would  proportionately  have  depredated  in 
quality.      Absolute  necessity  did  not  force  bet  to   such 


*32  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

coil,  therefore  she  instinctively  avoided  it.  Beside 
a  most  touching  humility  always  held  her  back  from 
testing  her  powers  to  the  utmost. 

The  same  self-depreciation  was  strong  in  Alice  ; 
but  her  aspiration,  her  will  to  do  her  best,  with  the 
impelling  demands  of  life,  were  so  much  stronger, 
that  neither  brain  nor  hand  were  ever  for  a  moment 
idle.  She  placed  the  highest  estimate  on  Phoebe's 
brilliant  wit,  clear  vision,  and  apt  and  shrewd  sugges- 
tiveness,  as  well  as  on  her  poetical  genius.  The 
former,  especially,  she  thought  a  mine  unworked,  and 
for  years  urged  and  encouraged  Phoebe  to  test  the 
growing  opportunities  of  correspondence  of  critical 
and  editorial  writing  which  journalism  opened  to 
women.  But  Phoebe  was  not  to  be  persuaded  even  by 
the  necessities  of  the  occasion,  or  the  eloquence  of 
her  sister.  She  continued  to  coruscate  in  the  little 
parlor,  to  fill  the  air  with  the  flashes  of  a  most  ex- 
quisite wit,  but  she  never  turned  it  to  any  material 
account.  When  a  song  came  singing  through  her 
brain,  she  would  leave  her  sewing,  or  her  novel,  and 
go  and  write  it  down.  Yet  for  a  period  of  eight  years 
she  wrote  comparatively  nothing.  In  referring  to  this 
period  she  often  said:  "I  thought  that  I  should  never 
write  again.  I  had  nothing  to  say,  and  felt  an  unut- 
terable heaviness.  If  I  did  write  anything  it  did  not 
seem  to  me  worth  copying,  much  less  reading."  The 
causes  of  this  mental  barrenness  were  probably  purely 
physical  and  temperamental.  It  is  doubtful  if  in  any 
effective  degree  it  was  in  her  power  to  help  it. 

No  less  those  were  years  in  which  the  burden  of 
life  weighed  sorely  and  heavily  on  Alice.  Often  she 
felt  herself  stagger  under  the  weights  of  life.     She  felt 


THE   CARY  SISTERS.  233 

her  strength  failing.  No  less  she  knew  that  she  must 
carry  them  alone,  that  there  was  no  one  on  earth  td 
help  her.  Phoebe  outlived  that  period  of  mental  in- 
activity. The  war  seemed  to  arouse  and  quicken  all 
her  nature.  For  the  last  five  years  of  her  life  hef 
genius  was  almost  as  productive  as  that  of  Alice.  Hef 
very  best  poems,  with  a  few  exceptions,  were  written 
within  that  period.  To  the  delight  of  her  friends  and 
the  joy  of  her  sister,  her  powers  seemed  continually  to 
increase,  her  song  to  grow  sweeter  and  fuller  to  the 
end.  Had  she  lived  ten  years  longer,  without  a  doubt 
she  would  have  risen  to  a  height  never  attained  by  her 
before.  Believing  her  sister  always  with  her,  it  would 
have  been  as  if  the  song  of  Alice  was  added  to  her  own. 

Through  nearly  all  their  lives  Phoebe  had  materially, 
intellectually,  and  spiritually  depended  upon  Alice. 
Though  Phoebe  had  the  more  robust  health,  it  was 
Alice  who  had  the  more  resolute  spirit.  Over  all  the 
long  and  toilsome  road  from  poverty  to  competence,  it 
was  Phcebe  who  leaned  on  Alice.  It  was  Alice  who 
bore  the  burden  and  heat  of  the  day,  and  who  smoothed 
the  paths  for  her  sister's  feet.  Not  that  she  was  idle, 
and  did  nothing  j  but  she  paused,  and  doubted,  and 
waited  by  the  way.  Tears  dimmed  the  lovely  eyes  of 
the  elder,  how  often  ;  pain  and  weariness  would  have 
stayed  her  steps,  but  her  high  heart  said,  "  Nay."  Ne- 
cessity said,  "  You  must  not !  "  She  went  on,  she  led 
In-r  sister  on,  till  they  came  to  a  height  where 
stood  side  by  side.  Then,  the  painful  journey  done,  in 
the  evening  shadow  it  was  Alice  who  leaned  on  l'hoebe, 
and  leaning  thus,  sin-  died. 

But  Phoebe  lived  through  and  for  Alice  so  long,  when 
she  looked  -*nd  saw  her  no  more,  the  very  impulse  .ind 


234  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

power  to  live  were  gone.  She  sank  and  died,  because 
she  could  not  live  on,  in  a  world  where  her  sister  was 
not. 

Turning  to  the  right,  after  entering  Greenwood,  a 
short  walk  brings  you  to  an  embowered  slope,  crowned 
by  a  grassy  lot,  on  whose  lowly  gate  is  inscribed  the 
one  word  :  "  Cary." 

Within,  side  by  side,  are  three  mounds,  of  equal 
length,  unmarked  save  by  one  low  head-stone,  whose 
velvet  turf  holds  a  few  withering  flowers,  the  only  token 
of  the  loving  remembrance  of  the  living  for  the  sleepers 
who  rest  below.  Elmina,  Phoebe,  and  Alice  !  names 
precious  to  womanhood,  names  worthy  of  the  tender- 
est  love  of  the  highest  manhood.  Far  from  their  kin- 
dred, here  these  sisters  three  sleep  at  last  together. 
Here  the  pilgrim  feet  are  stayed.  Here  the  eager 
brains  and  tireless  hands  at  last  are  idle.  Here  the 
passionate,  tender,  yearning  hearts  are  forever  still. 
On  one  side  you  hear  the  murmur  and  moan  of  the 
great  metropolis,  the  turmoil  and  anguish  of  human 
life  never  stilled.  On  the  other,  Ocean  chants  a  per- 
petual requiem.  As  you  listen,  you  are  sure  that  it 
holds  that  in  its  call  which  is  eternal ;  sure  that  there 
is  that  in  you  which  can  never  end  ;  sure  that  the  love, 
and  devotion,  and  divine  intelligence  of  the  women 
whom  you  mourn,  still  survive  ;  thai  they  whom  you 
loved  in  all  the  infirmity  of  their  human  state,  await 
you  now,  redeemed,  and  glorified,  and  immortal. 

The  autumn  leaves  fall  on  their  graves  in  tender 
showers.  The  spring  leaves,  the  summer  flowers,  bud 
and  bloom  around  them  in  beauty  ever  renewed.  The 
air  is  penetrated  with  sunshine  and  with  song.  The 
olace  is  full  of  the  brightness  that  Phoebe  loved,  full 


WHITTTER'S   VERSES.  235 

of  the  soothing  shade  and  peace  so  deai  to  Elmma,  and 
to  Alice. 

Farewell,  beloved  trinity  ! 

The  words  which  Whittier  wrote  for  Alice,  this  hour 
belong  alike  to  each  one  : 

"  God  giveth  quietness  at  last ! 
The  common  way  that  all  have  passed 
She  went,  with  mortal  yearnings  fond, 
To  fuller  life  and  love  beyond. 

"  Fold  the  rapt  soul  in  your  embrace, 
My  dear  ones  !     Give  the  singer  place. 
To  you,  to  her  —  I  know  not  where  — 
I  lift  the  silence  of  a  prayer. 

*  For  only  thus  our  own  we  find  ; 
The  gone  before,  the  left  behind, 
All  mortal  voices  die  between ; 
The  unheard  reaches  the  unseen. 

"  Again  the  blackbirds  sing  :  the  streams 
Wake,  laughing,  from  their  winter  dreams, 
And  tremble  in  the  April  showers 
The  tassels  of  the  maple  flowers. 

"  But  not  for  her  has  spring  renewed 
The  sweet  surprises  of  the  wood  ; 
And  bird  and  flowers  are  lost  to  her 
Who  was  their  best  interpreter  ! 

What  to  shut  eyes  has  God  revealed  ? 
Wh.it  hear  the  cars  that  death  had  sealed  ? 
What  undreamed  beauty,  pwwring  show, 

uitcs  the  loss  of  all  we  know  ? 


"  I  >  iDent  land,  to  which  we  mo. 
•  alone  be  I 

And  mortal  need  can  ne'er  outgrow 
What  it  i>  waiting  to  bestOW  1 


*36  ALICE  AND  PHCEBE   CARY. 

"  O  white  soul  !  from  that  far-off  shore 
Float  some  sweet  song  the  waters  o'er ; 
Our  faith  confirm,  our  fears  dispel, 
With  the  old  voice  we  loved  so  well  !  " 

In  the  days  of  her  early  youth  Phoebe  wrote :  — 

"  Let  your  warm  hands  chill  not,  slipping 

From  my  fingers'  icy  tips  ; 
Be  there  not  the  touch  of  kisses 

On  my  uncaressing  lips  ; 
Let  no  kindness  see  the  blindness 

Of  my  eyes'  last,  long  eclipse. 
Never  think  of  me  as  lying 

By  the  dismal  mould  o'erspread  : 
But  about  the  soft  white  pillow 

Folded  underneath  my  head, 
And  of  summer  flowers  weaving 

Their  rich  broidery  o'er  my  bed. 
Think  of  the  immortal  spirit 
•Living  up  above  the  sky, 
And  of  how  my  face  is  wearing 

Light  of  immortality ; 
Looking  earthward,  is  o'erleaning 

The  white  bastion  of  the  sky." 


LATER  POEMS  BY  ALICE  CARY 


BALLADS   AND    LOVE   SONGS 


THE    MIGHT  OF  LOVE. 

u  There  is  work,  good  man,  for  you  to-day  ! " 

So  the  wife  of  Jamie  cried, 
"  For  a  ship  at  Garl'ston,  on  Solway, 
Is  beached,  and  her  coal's  to  be  got  away 

At  the  ebbing  time  of  tide." 

"  And,  lassie,  would  you  have  me  start, 
And  make  for  Solway  sands  ? 
You  know  that  I,  for  my  poor  part, 
To  help  me,  have  nor  horse  nor  cart  — 
I  have  only  just  my  hands  ! " 

"  But,  Jamie,  be  not,  till  ye  try, 

Of  honest  chances  baulked  ; 
For,  mind  ye,  man,  I'll  prophesy 
That  while  the  old  ship's  high  and  dry 
Her  master'll  have  her  caulked." 

And  far  and  near  the  men  were  pressed, 
As  the  wife  saw  in  her  dreams. 
"  Aye,"  Jamie  .said,  4>  .she  knew  the  best,' 

As  he  went  under   with  the  rest 
To  caulk  the  open  ^eauis. 


840  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 

And  while  the  outward-flowing  tide 

Moaned  like  a  dirge  of  woe, 
The  ship's  mate  from  the  beach-belt  cried : 
"  Her  hull  is  heeling  toward  the  side 

Where  the  men  are  at  work  below  ! " 

And  the  cartmen,  wild  and  open-eyed, 

Made  for  the  Solway  sands  — 
Men  heaving  men  like  coals  aside, 
For  now  it  was  the  master  cried  : 

"  Run  for  your  lives,  all  hands  ! " 

Like  dead  leaves  in  the  sudden  swell 

Of  the  storm,  upon  that  shout, 
Brown  hands  went  fluttering  up  and  fell, 
As,  grazed  by  the  sinking  planks,  pell  mell 
The  men  came  hurtling  out ! 

Thank  God,  thank  God,  the  peril's  past ! 

"  No  !  no  !  "  with  blanching  lip, 
The  master  cries.     "  One  man,  the  last, 
Is  caught,  drawn  in,  and  grappled  fast 
Betwixt  the  sands  and  the  ship  !  " 

"  Back,  back,  all  hands  !     Get  what  you  can  — 

Or  pick,  or  oar,  or  stave." 
This  way  and  that  they  breathless  ran, 
And  came  and  fell  to,  every  man, 

To  dig  him  out  of  his  grave  ! 

"  Too  slow  !  too  slow  !     The  weight  will  kill  I 
Up,  make  your  hawsers  fast !  " 
Then  every  man  took  hold  with  a  will  — 


THE  MIGHT  OF  LOVE.  241 

A  long  pull  and  a  strong  pull  —  still 
With  never  a  stir  o'  th'  mast ! 

"  Out  with  the  cargo  !  "     Then  they  go 

At  it  with  might  and  main. 
"  Back  to  the  sands !  too  slow,  too  slow  I 
He's  dying,  dying !  yet,  heave  ho  ! 
Heave  ho  !  there,  once  again  !  " 

And  now  on  the  beach  at  Garl'ston  stood 

A  woman  whose  pale  brow  wore 
Its  love  like  a  queenly  crown  ;  and  the  blood 
Ran  curdled  and  cold  as  she  watched  the  flood 

That  was  racing  in  to  the  shore. 

On,  on  it  trampled,  stride  by  stride. 

It  was  death  to  stand  and  wait ; 
And  all  that  were  free  threw  picks  aside, 
And  came  up  dripping  out  o'  th'  tide, 

And  left  the  doomed  to  his  fate. 

But  lo  !  the  great  sea  trembling  stands  ; 

Then,  crawling  under  the  ship, 
As  if  for  the  sake  of  the  two  white  hands 
Reaching  over  the  wild,  wet  sands, 

Slackened  that  terrible  grip. 

"  Come  to  me,  Jamie  !  God  grants  the  way," 
She  cries,  "  for  lovers  to  meet." 
And  the  sea,  so  cruel,  grew  kind,  they  say, 
And,  wrapping  him  tenderly  round  with  spra). 
Laid  him  dead  at  her  feet. 
16 


242  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS, 


"THE  GRACE  WIFE  OF   KEITH.* 

No  whit  is  gained,  do  you  say  to  me, 
In  a  hundred  years,  nor  in  two  nor  three, 

In  wise  things,  nor  in  holy  — 
No  whit  since  Bacon  trod  his  ways, 
And  William  Shakespeare  wrote  his  plays ! 

Aye,  aye,  the  world  moves  slowly. 

But  here  is  a  lesson,  man,  to  heed ; 

I  have  marked  the  pages,  open  and  read ; 

We  are  yet  enough  unloving, 
Given  to  evil  and  prone  to  fall, 
But  the  record  will  show  you,  after  all, 

That  still  the  world  keeps  moving. 

All  in  the  times  of  the  good  King  James  — 

I  have  marked  the  deeds  and  their  doers'  names. 

And  over  my  pencil  drawing  — 
One  Geillis  Duncan  standeth  the  first 
For  helping  of  "  anie  kinde  sick  "  accursed, 

And  doomed,  without  trial,  to  "  thrawing" 

Read  of  her  torturers  given  their  scope 

Of  wrenching  and  binding  her  head  with  a  rope, 

Of  taunting  her  word  and  her  honor, 
And  of  searching  her  body  sae  pure  and  fair 
From  the  lady-white  feet  to  the  gouden  hair 

For  the  wizard's  mark  upon  her  ! 

Of  how  through  fair  coaxings  and  agonies'  dread 
She  came  to  acknowledge  whatever  they  said, 


"THE   GRACE    WIFE    OF  KEITH."  243 

And,  lastly,  her  shaken  wits  losing, 
To  prattle  from  nonsense  and  blasphemies  wild 
To  the  silly  entreaties  and  tears  of  a  child, 

And  then  to  the  fatal  accusing. 

First  naming  Euphemia  Macalzean, 
A  lord's  young  daughter,  and  fair  as  a  queen  ; 
Then  Agnes,  whose  wisdom  surpassed  her ; 
*  Grace  Wyff  of  Keith,"  so  her  sentence  lies, 
1  Adjudged  at  Holyrood  under  the  eyes 
Of  the  King,  her  royal  master." 

O,  think  of  this  Grace  wife,  fine  and  tall, 
With  a  witch's  bridle  tied  to  the  wall ! 

Her  peril  and  pain  enhancing 
With  owning  the  lie  that  on  Hallowmas  Eve 
She  with  a  witch  crew  sailed  in  a  sieve 

To  Berwick  Church,  for  a  dancing ! 

Think  of  her  owning,  through  brainsick  fright 
How  Geillis  a  Jew's-harp  played  that  night, 

And  of  Majesty  sending  speedy 
Across  the  border  and  far  away 
For  that  same  Geillis  to  dance  and  play, 

Of  infernal  news  made  greedy  ! 

Think  of  her  true  tongue  made  to  tell 
How  she  had  raised  a  dog  from  a  well 

To  conjure  a  Lady's  daughters; 
And  how  she  had  gript  him  neck  and  skin, 
And,  growling,  thrust  him  down  and  in 

To  his  hiding  under  the  waters  ! 


244  BALLADS  AND  LOVE   SONGS. 

How  Rob  the  Rower,  so  stout  and  brave, 
Helped  her  rifle  a  dead  man's  grave, 

And  how,  with  enchantments  arming, 
Husbands  false  she  had  put  in  chains, 
And  gone  to  the  beds  of  women  in  pains 

And  brought  them  through  by  charming  ! 

Think  of  her  owning  that  out  at  sea 
The  Devil  had  marked  her  on  the  knee, 

And  think  of  the  prelates  round  her 
Twitching  backward  their  old  gray  hairs 
And  bowing  themselves  to  their  awful  prayers 

Before  they  took  her  and  bound  her ! 

The  world  moves  !     Witch-fires,  say  what  you  will. 
Are  lighted  no  more  on  the  Castle  Hill 

By  the  breath  of  a  crazy  story  ; 
Nor  are  men  riven  at  horses'  tails, 
Or  done  to  death  through  pincered  nails, 

In  the  name  of  God  and  his  glory. 

The  world  moves  on  !     Say  what  you  can, 
No  more  may  a  maiden's  love  for  a  man, 

Into  scorn  and  hatred  turning, 
Wrap  him  in  rosin  stiff  and  stark, 
And  roll  him  along  like  a  log  in  its  bark 

To  the  place  of  fiery  burning. 

And  such  like  things  were  done  in  the  days 
When  one  Will  Shakespeare  wrote  his  plays ; 

And  when  Bacon  though:,  for  a  wonder  ; 
And  when  Luther  had  hurled,  at  the  spirit's  call, 
Inkstand,  Bible,  himself,  and  all 

At  the  head  of  the  Papal  thunder. 


JOHNNY  RIGHT.  245 


JOHNNY   RIGHT. 

Johnny  Right,  his  hand  was  brown, 
And  so  was  his  honest,  open  face, 

For  the  sunshine  kissed  him  up  and  down, 
But  Johnny  counted  all  for  grace  ; 

And  when  he  looked  in  the  glass  at  night 

He  said  that  brown  was  as  good  as  white  1 

A  little  farm  our  Johnny  owned, 

Some  pasture-fields,  both  green  and  good, 
A  bit  of  pleasant  garden  ground, 
A  meadow,  and  a  strip  of  wood. 
"  Enough  for  any  man,"  said  John, 
"  To  earn  his  livelihood  upon  !  " 

Two  oxen,  speckled  red  and  white, 

And  a  cow  that  gave  him  a  pail  of  milk, 
He  combed  and  curried  morn  and  night 
Until  their  coats  were  as  soft  as  silk. 
"  Cattle  on  all  the  hills,"  said  he, 
"  Could  give  no  more  of  joy  to  me." 

He  never  thought  the  world  was  wrong 
Because  rough  weather  chanced  a  day  ; 
"  The  night  is  always  hedged  along 

With  daybreak  roses,"  he  would  say ; 
He  did  not  ask  for  manna,  but  said, 
"Give  me  but  strength  —  I  will  get  the  bread  I' 

Kindly  he  took  for  good  and  all 
Whatever  fortune  chanced  to  bring, 


146  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 

And  he  never  wished  that  Spring  were  Fall, 

And  he  never  wished  that  Fall  were  Spring ; 
But  set  the  plough  with  a  joy  akin 
To  the  joy  of  putting  the  sickle  in. 

He  never  stopped  to  sigh  "  Oho  !  " 

Because  of  the  ground  he  needs  must  till, 

For  he  knew  right  well  that  a  man  must  sow 
Before  he  can  reap,  and  he  sowed  with  a  will  ; 

And  still  as  he  went  to  his  rye-straw  bed, 
"  Work  brings  the  sweetest  of  rest,"  he  said. 

Johnny's  house  was  little  and  low, 

And  his  fare  was  hard  ;  and  that  was  why 

He  used  to  say,  with  his  cheeks  aglow, 
That  he  must  keep  his  heart  up  high: 

Aye,  keep  it  high,  and  keep  it  light  ! 

He  used  to  say  —  wise  Johnny  Right ! 

He  never  fancied  one  was  two ; 

But  according  to  his  strength  he  planned, 
And  oft  to  his  Meggy  would  say  he  knew 

That  gold  was  gold,  and  sand  was  sand  ; 
And  that  each  was  good  and  best  in  its  place, 
For  he  counted  everything  for  grace. 

Now  Meggy  Right  was  Meggy  Wrong, 

For  things  with  her  went  all  awry  ; 
She  always  found  the  day  too  long 

Or  the  day  too  short,  and  would  mope  and  sigh ; 
For,  somehow,  the  time  and  place  that  were, 
Were  never  the  time  and  place  for  her  ! 


JOHNNY  RIGHT.  247 

"  O  Johnny,  Johnny  !  "  she  used  to  say, 
If  she  saw  a  cloud  in  the  sky  at  morn, 

"  There  will  be  a  hurricane  to-day  ;  " 

Or,  "  The  rain  will  come  and  drench  the  corn! 
And  Johnny  would  answer,  with  a  smile, 

u  Wait,  dear  Meggy,  wait  for  a  while !  " 

And  often  before  an  ear  was  lost, 
Or  a  single  hope  of  the  harvest  gone, 

She  would  cry,  "  Suppose  there  should  fall  a  frost, 
What  should  we  do  then,  John,  O  John  !  " 

And  Johnny  would  answer,  rubbing  his  thumbs, 
"  Wait,  dear  Meggy,  wait  till  it  comes  !  " 

But  when  she  saw  the  first  gray  hair, 

Her  hands  together  she  wrung  and  wrung, 

And  cried,  in  her  wicked  and  weak  despair, 
"  Ah,  for  the  day  when  we  both  were  young !  " 

And  Johnny  answered,  kissing  her  brow, 
u  Then  was  then,  Meg  —  now  is  now  !  " 

And  when  he  spectacles  put  on, 

And  read  at  ease  the  paper  through, 

She  whimpered,  "  O,  hard-hearted  John, 
It  isn't  the  way  you  used  to  do  !  " 

And  Johnny,  wiser  than  wiser  men, 

Said,  "  Now  is  now,  Meg  —  then  was  then  I  n 

So  night  and  day,  with  this  and  that, 

She  gave  a  bitter  to  all  the  bliss, 
Now  for  Johnny  to  give  her  a  hat, 

And  now  for  Johnny  to  give  her  a  kiss, 
Till,  patience  failing,  he  cried,  "Peg,  Peg! 

You're  enough  to  turn  a  man's  head,  Meg!" 


248  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 

O,  then  she  fell  into  despair  — 

No  coaxing  could  her  temper  mend  ; 

For  her  part  now  she  didn't  care 
How  soon  her  sad  life  had  an  end. 

And  Johnny,  sneering,  made  reply, 
"  Well,  Meg,  don't  die  before  you  die ! 

Then  foolish  Meg  began  to  scold, 
And  call  her  Johnny  ugly  names  ; 

She  wished  the  little  farm  was  sold, 
And  that  she  had  no  household  claims, 

So  that  she  might  go  and  starve  or  beg, 

And  Johnny  answered,  "  O  Meg,  Meg  !  " 

Ah,  yes,  she  did  —  she  didn't  care  ! 

That  were  a  living  to  prefer  ; 
What  had  she  left  to  save  despair  ? 

A  man  that  didn't  care  for  her  ! 
Indeed,  in  truth  she'd  rather  go  ! 
"  Don't,  Meg,"  says  Johnny,  "  don't  say  so ! 

She  left  his  stockings  all  undarned, 

She  set  his  supper  for  him  cold  ; 

And  every  day  she  said  she  yearned 

To  have  the  hateful  homestead  sold. 
She  couldn't  live,  and  wouldn't  try ! 
John  only  answered  with  a  sigh. 

Passing  the  tavern  one  cold  night, 
Says  Johnny,  "  I've  a  mind  to  stop, 

It  looks  so  cheery  and  so  bright 
Within,  and  take  a  little  drop, 

And  then  I'll  go  straight  home  to  Meg. ' 

There  was  the  serpent  in  the  egg. 


THE   LOVER'S   INTERDICT.  *49 

He  stopped,  alas,  alas  for  John. 

That  careless  step  foredoomed  his  fall. 
Next  year  the  little  farm  was  gone,  — 

Corn-fields  and  cattle,  house  and  all ; 
And  Meggy  learned  too  late,  too  late, 
Her  own  self  had  evoked  her  fate. 


THE  LOVER'S  INTERDICT. 

Stop,  traveller,  just  a  moment  at  my  gate, 
And  I  will  give  you  news  so  very  sweet 
That  you  will  thank  me.     Where  the  branches  meet 

Across  your  road,  and  droop,  as  with  the  weight 
Of  shadows  laid  upon  them,  pause,  I  pray, 
And  turn  aside  a  little  from  your  way. 

You  see  the  drooping  branches  overspread 
With  shadows,  as  I  told  you  —  look  you  now 
To  the  high  elm-tree  with  the  dead  white  bough 

Loose  swinging  out  of  joint,  and  there,  with  head 
Tricked  out  with  scarlet,  pouring  his  wild  lay, 
You  see  a  blackbird  :  turn  your  step  that  way. 

Holding  along  the  honeysuckle  hedge, 

Make  for  the  meadows  lying  down  so  low ; 
Ah  !  now  I  need  not  say  that  you  must  go 

No  further  than  that  little  silver  wedge 
Of  daisy-land,  pushed  inward  by  the  flood 
Betwixt  the  hills  —  you  could  not,  if  you  would. 


250  BALLADS  AND  LOVE    SONGS. 

For  you  will  see  there,  as  the  sun  goes  down, 
And  freckles  all  the  daisy  leaves  with  gold, 
A  little  maiden,  in  their  evening  fold 

Penning  two  lambs  —  her  soft,  fawn-colored  gowa 
Tucked  over  hems  of  violet,  by  a  hand 
Dainty  as  any  lady's  in  the  land. 

Such  gracious  light  she  will  about  her  bring, 
That,  when  the  Day,  being  wedded  to  the  shade, 
Wears  the  moon's  circle,  blushing,  as  the  maid 

Blushes  to  wear  the  unused  marriage-ring, 
And  all  the  quickened  clouds  do  fall  astir 
With  daffodils,  your  thoughts  will  stay  with  her. 

No  ornaments  but  her  two  sapphire  eyes, 
And  the  twin  roses  in  her  cheeks  that  grow , 
The  nice-set  pearls,  that  make  so  fine  a  show 

When  that  she  either  softly  smiles  or  sighs, 
And  the  long  tresses,  colored  like  a  bee  — 
Brown,  with  a  sunlight  shimmer.     You  will  see, 

When  you  have  ceased  to  watch  the  airy  spring 
Of  her  white  feet,  a  fallen  beech  hard  by, 
The  yellow  earth  about  the  gnarled  roots  dry, 

And  if  you  hide  there,  you  will  hear  her  sing 
That  song  Kit  Marlowe  made  so  long  ago  — 
"  Come  live  with  me,  and  be  my  love,"  you  know, 

Dear  soul,  you  would  not  be  at  heaven's  high  gate 
Among  the  larks,  that  constellated  hour, 
Nor  locked  alone  in  some  green-hearted  bower 

Among  the  nightingales,  being  in  your  fate, 
By  fortune's  sweet  selection,  graced  above 
All  grace,  to  hear  that  —  Come,  and  be  my  love  I 


THE   LOVER'S  INTERDICT.  25 1 

But  when  the  singer  singeth  down  the  sweets 
To  that  most  maiden-like  and  lovely  bed  — 
All  out  of  soft  persuasive  roses  spread  — 

You  must  not  touch  the  fair  and  flowery  sheets 
Even  in  your  thought  !  and  from  your  perfect  bliss 
I  furthermore  must  interdict  you  this  : 

When  all  the  wayward  mists,  because  of  her, 
Lie  in  their  white  wings,  moveless,  on  the  air, 
You  must  not  let  the  loose  net  of  her  hair 

Drag  your  heart  to  her !  nor  from  hushed  breath  stir 
Out  of  your  sacred  hiding.     As  you  guess 
She  is  my  love  —  this  woodland  shepherdess. 

The  cap,  the  clasps,  the  kirtle  fringed  along 
With  myrtles,  as  the  hand  of  dear  old  Kit 
Did  of  his  cunning  pleasure  broider  it, 

To  ornament  that  dulcet  piece  of  song 

Immortaled  with  refrains  of  —  Live  with  me ! 
These  to  your  fancy,  one  and  all  are  free. 

But,  favored  traveller,  ere  you  quit  my  gate, 
Promise  to  hold  it,  in  your  mind  to  be 
Enamored  only  of  the  melody, 

Else  will  I  pray  that  all  yon  woody  weight 
Of  branch  and  shadow,  as  you  pass  along, 
Crush  you  among  the  echoes  of  the  song. 


252  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 


THE  SETTLER'S  CHRISTMAS  EVE. 

In  a  patch  of  clearing,  scarcely  more 

Than  his  brawny  double  hands, 
With  woods  behind  and  woods  before, 

The  Settler's  cabin  stands  ; 
A  little,  low,  and  lonesome  shed, 
With  a  roof  of  clapboards  overhead. 

Aye,  low,  so  low  the  wind-warped  eave 

Hangs  close  against  the  door  ; 
You  might  almost  stretch  a  bishop's  sleeve 

From  the  rafter  to  the  floor  ; 
And  the  window  is  not  too  large,  a  whit, 
For  a  lady's  veil  to  curtain  it. 

The  roof-tree's  bent  and  knotty  knees 

By  the  Settler's  axe  are  braced, 
And  the  door-yard  fence  is  three  felled  trees 

With  their  bare  arms  interlaced  ; 
And  a  grape-vine,  shaggy  and  rough  and  red, 
Swings  from  the  well-sweep' s  high,  sharp  head. 

And  among  the  stubs,  all  charred  and  black, 

Away  to  the  distant  huts, 
Winds  in  and  out  the  wagon-track, 

Cut  full  of  zigzag  ruts  : 
And  down  and  down  to  the  sluggish  pond, 
And  through  and  up  to  the  swamps  beyond. 

And  do  you  ask  beneath  such  thatch 
What  heart  or  hope  may  be  ? 


THE   SETTLER'S  CHRISTMAS  EVE.  253 

Just  pull  the  string  of  the  wooden  latch, 

And  see  what  you  shall  see : 
A  hearth-stone  broad  and  warm  and  wide, 
With  master  and  mistress  either  side. 

And  'twixt  them,  in  the  radiant  glow, 

Prattling  of  Christmas  joys, 
With  faces  in  a  shining  row, 

Six  children,  girls  and  boys ; 
And  in  the  cradle  a  head  half-hid 
By  the  shaggy  wolf-skin  coverlid. 

For  the  baby  sleeps  in  the  shaded  light 

As  gently  as  a  lamb, 
And  two  little  stockings,  scarlet  bright, 

Are  hanging  'gainst  the  jamb  ; 
And  the  yellow  cat  lies  all  of  a  curl 
In  the  lap  of  a  two-years'  blue-eyed  girl. 

On  the  dresser,  saved  for  weeks  and  weeks, 

A  hamper  of  apples  stands, 
And  some  are  red  as  the  children's  cheeks, 

And  some  are  brown  as  their  hands ; 
For  cakes  and  apples  must  stead,  you  see, 
The  rich  man's  costlier  Christmas-tree. 

A  clock  that  looks  like  a  skeleton, 

From  the  corner  ticks  out  bold  ; 
And  that  Dever  was  such  a  clock  to  run 

You  would  hardly  need  be  told, 
If  you  were  to  see  the  glances  proud 
Drawn  toward  it  when  it  strikes  so  loud. 


254  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 

The  Settler's  rifle,  bright  and  brown, 

Hangs  high  on  the  rafter-hooks. 
And  swinging  a  hand's  breadth  lower  down 

Is  a  modest  shelf  of  books  ; 
Bible  and  Hymn-book,  thumbed  all  through, 
"  Baxter's  Call,"  and  a  novel  or  two. 

"  Peter  Wilkins,"  "  The  Bloody  Hand," 

«  The  Sailor's  Bride  and  Bark," 
'•'Jerusalem  and  the  Holy  Land," 

"The  Travels  of  Lewis  and  Clarke  y" 
Some  tracts  :  among  them,  "  The  Milk-maid  s  Fall, 
:i  Pleasure  Punished,"  and  "  Death  at  a  Bali." 

A  branch  of  sumach,  shining  bright, 

And  a  stag-horn,  deck  the  wall, 
With  a  string  of  birds'-eggs,  blue  and  white, 

Beneath.     But  after  all, 
You  will  say  the  six  little  heads  in  a  row 
By  the  hearth-stone  make  the  prettiest  show. 

The  boldest  urchin  dares  not  stir  j 

But  each  heart,  be  sure,  rebels 
As  the  father  taps  on  the  newspaper 

With  his  brass-bowed  spectacles  ; 
And  knitting-needle  with  needle  clicks 
As  the  mother  waits  for  the  politics. 

He  has  rubbed  the  glass  and  rubbed  the  bow, 
And  now  is  a  fearful  pause : 
u  Come,  Molly  !  "  he  says,  "  come  Sue,  come  Joe, 
And  I'll  tell  you  of  Santa  Claus !  " 
How  the  faces  shine  with  glad  surprise, 
As  if  the  souls  looked  out  of  the  eyes. 


THE  SETTLER'S   CHRISTMAS  EVE.  J  55 

In  a  trice  the  dozen  ruddy  legs 
Are  bare  ;  and  speckled  and  brown 

And  blue  and  gray,  from  the  wall-side  peg 
The  stockings  dangle  down  ; 

And  the  baby  with  wondering  eyes,  looks  out 

To  see  what  the  clatter  is  all  about. 

"  And  what  will  Santa  Claus  bring  ?  "  they  tease, 
"  And,  say,  is  he  tall  and  fair  ?  " 
While  the  younger  climb  the  good  man's  knees, 

And  the  elder  scale  his  chair  ; 
And  the  mother  jogs  the  cradle,  and  tries 
The  charm  of  the  dear  old  lullabies. 

So  happily  the  hours  fly  past, 

'Tis  pity  to  have  them  o'er  ; 
But  the  rusty  weights  of  the  clock,  at  last 

Are  dragging  near  the  floor  ; 
And  the  knitting  kneedles,  one  and  all, 
Are  stuck  in  the  round,  red  knitting-ball. 

Now,  all  of  a  sudden  the  father  twirls 

The  empty  apple-plate ; 
"Old  Santa  Claus  don't  like  his  girls 

And  boys  to  be  up  so  late  !  " 
He  says,  "  And  I'll  warrant  our  star-faced  cow, 
He's  waiting  astride  o'  the  chimney  now." 

Down  the  back  of  his  chair  they  slide, 

They  .slide  down  arm  and  knee  : 
"  If  Santa  Claus  is  indeed  outside, 

He  sha'n'l  be  kept  for  me  !  " 
Cry  one  and  all  ;  and  away  they  go, 
Hurrying,  flurrying,  six  in  a  row. 


356  BALLADS  AND   LOVE  SONGS. 

In  the  mother's  eyes  are  happy  tears 

As  she  sees  them  flutter  away  ; 
u  My  man,"  she  says,  "  it  is  sixteen  years 

Since  our  blessed  wedding-day  j 
And  I  wouldn't  think  it  but  just  a  year 
If  it  wasn't  for  all  these  children  here." 

And  then  they  talk  of  what  they  will  do 

As  the  years  shall  come  and  go  ; 
Of  schooling  for  little  Molly  and  Sue, 

And  of  land  for  John  and  Joe  ; 
And  Dick  is  so  wise,  and  Dolly  so  fair, 
"  They,"  says  the  mother,  "  will  have  luck  to  spare  ! 

"  Aye,  aye,  good  wife,  that's  clear,  that's  clear  1 " 

Then,  with  eyes  on  the  cradle  bent, 
"  And  what  if  he  in  the  wolf-skin  here 
Turned  out  to  be  President  ? 
Just  think  !  O,  wouldn't  it  be  fine,  — 
Such  fortune  for  your  boy  and  mine  !  " 

She  stopped  — her  heart  with  hope  elate  — 

And  kissed  the  golden  head  : 
Then,  with  the  brawny  hand  of  her  mate 

Folded  in  hers,  she  said  : 
M  Walls  as  narrow,  and  a  roof  as  low, 
Have  sheltered  a  President,  you  know." 

And  then  they  said  they  would  work  and  wait, 

The  good,  sweet-hearted  pair  — 
You  must  have  pulled  the  latch-string  straight, 

Had  you  in  truth  been  there, 
Feeling  that  you  were  not  by  leave 
At  the  Setter's  hearth  that  Christmas  Eve. 


THE   OLD  STORY.  «57 


THE  OLD  STORY. 

The  waiting-women  wait  at  her  feet, 

And  the  day  is  fading  into  the  night, 
And  close  at  her  pillow,  and  round  and  sweet, 

The  red  rose  burns  like  a  lamp  a-light, 
And  under  and  over  the  gray  mists  fold  ; 

And  down  and  down  from  the  mossy  eaves, 

And  down  from  the  sycamore's  long  wild  leaves 
The  slow  rain  droppeth  so  cold,  so  cold. 

Ah  !  never  had  sleeper  a  sleep  so  fair ; 

And  the  waiting-women  that  weep  around, 
Have  taken  the  combs  from  her  golden  hair, 

And  it  slideth  over  her  face  to  the  ground. 
They  have  hidden  the  light  from  her  lovely  eyes  ; 

And  down  from  the  eaves  where  the  mosses  grow 

The  rain  is  dripping  so  slow,  so  slow, 
And  the  night  wind  cries  and  cries  and  cries. 

From  her  hand  they  have  taken  the  shining  ring, 
They  have  brought  the  linen  her  shroud  to  make  : 

O,  the  lark  she  was  never  so  loath  to  sing, 

And  the  morn  she  was  never  so  loath  to  awake  1 

And  at  their  sewing  they  hear  the  rain,  — 
Drip-drop,  drip-drop  over  the  eaves, 
Ami  drip-drop  over  the  sycamore  leaves, 

As  if  there  would  never  be  sunshine  again. 

The  mourning  train  to  the  grave  have  gone, 
And  the  waiting  women  arc  here  and  are  there, 

With  birds  at  the  windows,  and  gleams  of  the  sun, 
Making  the  chamber  of  death  to  be  fair, 

17 


258  BALLADS  AND  LOVE  SONGS. 

And  under  and  over  the  mist  unlaps, 

And  ruby  and  amethyst  burn  through  the  gray, 
And  driest  bushes  grow  green  with  spray, 

And  the  dimpled  water  its  glad  hands  claps. 

The  leaves  of  the  sycamore  dance  and  wave, 
And  the  mourners  put  off  the  mourning  shows ; 

And  over  the  pathway  down  to  the  grave 
The  long  grass  blows  and  blows  and  blows. 

And  every  drip-drop  rounds  to  a  flower, 
And  love  in  the  heart  of  the  young  man  springs, 
And  the  hands  of  the  maidens  shine  with  rings, 

As  if  all  life  were  a  festival  hour. 


BALDER'S   WIFE. 

Her  casement  like  a  watchful  eye 

From  the  face  of  the  wall  looks  down, 
Lashed  round  with  ivy  vines  so  dry, 

And  with  ivy  leaves  so  brown. 
Her  golden  head  in  her  lily  hand 

Like  a  star  in  the  spray  o*  th'  sea, 
And  wearily  rocking  to  and  fro, 
She  sings  so  sweet  and  she  sings  so  low 

To  the  little  babe  on  her  knee. 
But  let  her  sing  what  tune  she  may, 

Never  so  light  and  never  so  gay, 
It  slips  and  slides  and  dies  away 

To  the  moan  of  the  willow  water. 


BALDER'S    WIFE.  259 

Like  some  bright  honey-hearted  rose 

That  the  wild  wind  rudely  mocks, 
She  blooms  from  the  dawn  to  the  day's  sweet  close 

Hemmed  in  with  a  world  of  rocks. 
The  livelong  night  she  doth  not  stir, 

But  keeps  at  her  casement  lorn, 
And  the  skirts  of  the  darkness  shine  with  her 

As  they  shine  with  the  light  o'  the  morn 
And  all  who  pass  may  hear  her  lay, 

But  let  it  be  what  tune  it  may, 
It  slips  and  slides  and  dies  away 

To  the  moan  of  the  willow  water. 

And  there,  within  that  one-eyed  tower, 

Lashed  round  with  the  ivy  brown. 
She  droops  like  some  unpitied  flower 

That  the  rain-fall  washes  down  : 
The  damp  o'  th'  dew  in  her  golden  hair, 

Her  cheek  like  the  spray  o*  th'  sea, 
And  wearily  rocking  to  and  fro 
She  sings  so  sweet  and  she  sings  so  low 

To  the  little  babe  on  her  knee. 
But  let  her  sing  what  tune  she  may, 

Never  so  glad  and  never  so  gay, 
It  slips  and  slides  and  dies  away 

To  the  moan  of  the  willow  water. 


POEMS   OF   THOUGHT. 


UNDER  THE  SHADOW. 

My  sorrowing  friend,  arise  and  go 
About  thy  house  with  patient  care ; 

The  hand  that  bows  thy  head  so  low 
Will  bear  the  ills  thou  canst  not  bear. 

Arise,  and  all  thy  tasks  fulfill, 

And  as  thy  day  thy  strength  shall  be ; 

Were  there  no  power  beyond  the  ill, 
The  ill  could  not  have  come  to  thee. 

Though  cloud  and  storm  encompass  thee, 

Be  not  afflicted  nor  afraid ; 
Thou  knowest  the  shadow  could  not  be 

Were  there  no  sun  beyond  the  shade. 

For  thy  beloved,  dead  and  gone, 
Let  sweet,  not  bitter,  tears  be  shed  ; 

Nor  "  open  thy  dark  saying  on 

The  harp,"  as  though  thy  faith  were  dead. 

Couldst  thou  even  have  them  reappear 
In  bodies  plain  to  mortal  sense, 

How  were  the  miracle  more  clear 

To  bring:  them  than  to  take  them  hence  ? 


UNDER    THE  SHADOW.  261 

Then  let  thy  soul  cry  in  thee  thus 

No  more,  nor  let  thine  eyes  thus  weep ; 

Nothing  can  be  withdrawn  from  us 
That  we  have  any  need  to  keep. 

Arise,  and  seek  some  height  to  gain 
From  life's  dark  lesson  day  by  day, 

Nor  just  rehearse  its  peace  and  pain  — 
A  wearied  actor  at  the  play. 

Nor  grieve  that  will  so  much  transcends 

Thy  feeble  powers,  but  in  content 
Do  what  thou  canst,  and  leave  the  ends 

And  issues  with  the  Omnipotent. 

Dust  as  thou  art,  and  born  to  woe, 
Seeing  darkly,  and  as  through  a  glass, 

He  made  thee  thus  to  be,  for  lo ! 

He  made  the  grass,  and  flower  of  grass. 

The  tempest's  cry,  the  thunder's  moan, 
The  waste  of  waters,  wild  and  dim, 

The  still  small  voice  thou  hear'st  alone  — 
All,  all  alike  interpret  Him. 

Arise,  my  friend,  and  go  about 

Thy  darkened  house  with  cheerful  feet ; 

Yield  not  one  jot  to  fear  nor  doubt, 
But,  baffled,  broken,  still  repeat : 

"Tis  mine  to  work,  and  not  to  win  ; 

The  soul  must  wait  to  have  her  wings  ; 
Even  time  is  but  a  landmark  in 
The  great  eternity  of  things. 


26a  POEMS  OF  THOUGHT. 

"  Is  it  so  much  that  thou  below, 

O  heart,  shouldst  fail  of  thy  desire, 
When  death,  as  we  believe  and  know, 
Is  but  a  call  to  come  up  higher  ? " 


GOD  IS  LOVE. 

Ah,  there  are  mighty  things  under  the  sun, 
Great  deeds   have  been   acted,  great   words   have 
been  said, 

Not  just  uplifting  some  fortunate  one, 

But  lifting  up  all  men  the  more  by  a  head. 

Aye,  the  more  by  the  head,  and  the  shoulders  too ! 

Ten  thousand  may  sin,  and  a  thousand  may  fall, 
And  it  may  have  been  me,  and  it  yet  may  be  you, 

But  the  angel  in  one  proves  the  angel  in  all. 

And  whatever  is  mighty,  whatever  is  high, 

Lifting  men,  lifting  woman  their  natures  above, 

And  close  to  the  kinship  they  hold  to  the  sky 
Why,  this  I  affirm,  that  its  essence  is  Love. 

The  poorest,  the  meanest  has  right  to  his  share  — 
For  the  life  of  his  heart,  for  the  strength  of  his 
hand, 

Tis  the  sinew  of  work,  'tis  the  spirit  of  prayer  — 
And  here,  and  God  help  me,  I  take  up  my  stand. 

No  pain  but  it  hushes  to  peace  in  its  arms, 

No  pale  cheek  it  cannot  with  kisses  make  bright, 


GOD  IS  LOVE.  263 

Its  wonder  of  splendors  has  made  the  world's  storms 
To  snine   as  with   rainbows,  since  first   there  was 
light. 

Go,  bring  me  whatever  the  poets  have  praised, 
The  mantles  of  queens,  the  red  roses  of  May, 

I'll  match  them,  I  care  not  how  grandly  emblazed, 
With  the  love  of  the  beggar  who  sits  by  the  way. 

When  I  think  of  the  gifts  that  have  honored  Love's 
shrine  — 

Heart,  hope,  soul,  and  body,  all  mortal  can  give  — 
For  the  sake  of  a  passion  superbly  divine, 

I  am  glad,  nay,  and  more,  I  am  proud  that  I  live  J 

Fair  women  have  made  them  espousals  with  death, 
And  through  the  white  flames  as  through  lilies  have 
trod, 
And  men  have  with  cloven  tongues  preached  for  their 
faith, 
And  held  up  their  hands,  stiff  with  thumb-screws,  to 
God. 

I  have  seen  a  great  people  its  vantage  defer 
To  the  love  that  had  moved  it  as  love  only  can, 

A  whole  nation  stooping  with  conscience  astir 
To  a  chattel  with  crop  cars,  and  calling  it  man. 

Compared,  O  my  beautiful  Country,  to  thee, 
In  this  tenderest  touch  of  the  manacled  hand, 

The  tops  of  the  pyramids  sink  to  the 

And  the  thrones  of   the    earth  slide  together    like 
sand. 


264  POEMS  OF  THOUGHT. 

Immortal  with  beauty  and  vital  with  youth, 

Thou  standest,  O  Love,  as  thou  always  hast  stood 

From  the  wastes  of  the  ages,  proclaiming  this  truth, 
All  peoples  and  nations  are  made  of  one  blood. 

Ennobled  by  scoffing  and  honored  by  shame, 

The  chiefest  of  great  ones,  the  crown  and  the  head, 

Attested  by  miracles  done  in  thy  name 

For   the  blind,  for  the  lame,  for  the  sick  and  the 
dead. 

Because  He  in  all  things  was  tempted  like  me, 
Through  the  sweet  human  hope,  by  the  cross  that 
He  bore, 

For  the  love  which  so  much  to  the  Marys  could  be, 
Christ  Jesus  the  man,  not  the  God,  I  adore. 


LIFE'S  MYSTERIES. 

Round  and  round  the  wheel  doth  run, 
And  now  doth  rise,  and  now  doth  fall ; 

How  many  lives  we  live  in  one, 

And  how  much  less  than  one,  in  all  1 

The  past  as  present  as  to-day  — 

How  strange,  how  wonderful !  it  seems 

A  player  playing  in  a  play, 

A  dreamer  dreaming  that  he  dreams ! 

But  when  the  mind  through  devious  glooms 
Drifts  onward  to  tha  daxk  amain, 


LIFE'S  MYSTERIES.  265 

Her  wand  stern  Conscience  reassumes, 
And  holds  us  to  ourselves  again. 

Vague  reminiscences  come  back 

Of  things  we  seem,  in  part,  to  have  known, 
And  Fancy  pieces  what  they  lack 

With  shreds  and  colors  all  her  own 

Fancy,  whose  wing  so  high  can  soar, 
Whose  vision  hath  so  broad  a  glance, 

We  feel  sometimes  as  if  no  more 
Amenable  to  change  and  chance. 

And  yet,  one  tiny  thread  being  broke  — 

One  idol  taken  from  our  hands, 
The  eternal  hills  roll  up  like  smoke, 

The  earth's  foundations  shake  like  sands  I 

Ah  1  how  the  colder  pulse  still  starts 

To  think  of  that  one  hour  sublime, 
We  hugged  heaven  down  into  our  hearts, 

And  clutched  eternity  in  time  ! 

When  love's  dear  eyes  first  looked  in  ours, 

When  love's  dear  brows  were  strange  to  frowns, 

When  all  the  stars  were  burning  flowers 
That  \vc  might  pluck  and  wear  for  crowns. 

We  cannot  choose  but  cry  and  cry  — 

O,  that  its  j  might  repeat! 

When  just  its  mutability 

Made  all  the  sweetness  of  it  sweet 


266  POEMS  OF  THOUGHT. 

Close  to  the  precipice's  brink 

We  press,  look  down,  and,  while  we  quail 
From  the  bad  thought  we  dare  not  think, 

Lift  curiously  the  awful  vail. 

We  do  the  thing  we  would  not  do  — 
Our  wills  being  set  against  our  wills, 

And  suffer  o'er  and  o'er  anew 
The  penalty  our  peace  that  kills. 

Great  God,  we  know  not  what  we  know 
Or  what  we  are,  or  are  to  be ! 

We  only  trust  we  cannot  go 

Through  sin's  disgrace  outside  of  Thee. 

And  trust  that  though  we  are  driven  in 
And  forced  upon  thy  name  to  call 

At  last,  by  very  strength  of  sin, 
Thou  wilt  have  mercv  on  us  all ! 


POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND   HOME. 


A  DREAM  OF  HOME- 
Sunset  !    A  hush  is  on  the  air, 


Their  gray  old  heads  the  mountains  bare, 
As  if  the  winds  were  saying  prayer. 

The  woodland,  with  its  broad  green  wing, 
Shuts  close  the  insect  whispering, 
And  lo  1  the  sea  gets  up  to  sing. 

The  day's  last  splendor  fades  and  dies, 
And  shadows  one  by  one  arise, 
To  light  the  candles  of  the  skies. 

O  wild  flowers,  wet  with  tearful  dew, 

0  woods,  with  starlight  shining  through, 
My  heart  is  back  to-night  with  you  1 

1  know  each  beech  and  maple  tree, 
Each  climbing  brier  and  shrub  I  see,  — 
Like  friends  they  stand  to  welcome  me. 

Musing  I  go  along  the  streams, 
Sweetly  believing  in  my  dreams; 
For  fancy  like  a  prophet  seems. 


J 68  POEMS  OF  NATURE   AND  HOME. 

Footsteps  beside  me  tread  the  sod 
As  in  the  twilights  gone  they  trod ; 
And  I  unlearn  my  doubts,  thank  God  1 

Unlearn  my  doubts,  forget  my  fears, 
And  that  bad  carelessness  that  sears 
And  makes  me  older  than  my  years. 

I  hear  a  dear,  familiar  tone, 

A  loving  hand  is  in  my  own, 

And  earth  seems  made  for  me  alone. 

If  I  my  fortunes  could  have  planned, 
I  would  not  have  let  go  that  hand  ; 
But  they  must  fall  who  learn  to  stand. 

And  how  to  blend  life's  varied  hues, 
What  ill  to  find,  what  good  to  lose, 
My  Father  knoweth  best  to  choose. 


EVENING  PASTIMES. 

Sitting  by  my  fire  alone, 
When  the  winds  are  rough  and  cold, 
And  I  feel  myself  grow  old 

Thinking  of  the  summers  flown. 

I  have  many  a  harmless  art 
To  beguile  the  tedious  time  : 
Sometimes  reading  some  old  rhyme 

I  already  know  by  heart ; 


FADED  LEAVES.  269 

Sometimes  singing  over  words 
Which  in  youth's  dear  day  gone  by 
Sounded  sweet,  so  sweet  that  I 

Had  no  praises  for  the  birds. 

Then,  from  off  its  secret  shelf 
I  from  dust  and  moth  remove 
The  old  garment  of  my  love, 

In  the  which  I  wrap  myself. 

And  a  little  while  am  vain  ; 
But  its  rose  hue  will  not  bear 
The  sad  light  of  faded  hair  ; 

So  I  fold  it  up  again, 

More  in  patience  than  regret 
Not  a  leaf  the  forest  through 
But  is  sung  and  whispered  to . 

I  shall  wear  that  garment  yet. 


FADED   LEAVES. 

The  hills  are  bright  with  maples  yet ; 

But  down  the  level  land 
The  beech  leaves  rustle  in  the  wind 

As  dry  and  brown  as  sand. 

The  clouds  in  bars  of  rusty  red 

Along  the  hill-tops  glow, 
And  in  the  still,  sharp  air,  the  frost 

Is  like  a  dream  of  snow. 


«70  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 

The  berries  of  the  brier-rose 
Have  lost  their  rounded  pride  : 

The  bitter-sweet  chrysanthemums 
Are  drooping  heavy-eyed. 

The  cricket  grows  more  friendly  now, 
The  dormouse  sly  and  wise, 

Hiding  away  in  the  disgrace 
Of  nature,  from  men's  eyes. 

The  pigeons  in  black  wavering  lines 
Are  swinging  toward  the  sun  ; 

And  all  the  wide  and  withered  fields 
Proclaim  the  summer  done. 

His  store  of  nuts  and  acorns  now 

The  squirrel  hastes  to  gain, 
And  sets  his  house  in  order  for 
The  winter's  dreary  reign. 

'Tis  time  to  light  the  evening  fire, 
To  read  good  books,  to  sing 

The  low  and  lovely  songs  that  breathe 
Of  the  eternal  Spring. 


THE  LIGHT  OF  DAYS   GONE  BY. 

Some  comfort  when  all  else  is  night, 

About  his  fortune  plays, 
Who  sets  his  dark  to-days  in  the  light 

Of  the  sunnier  yesterdays. 


THE  LIGHT  OF  DAYS  GONE  BY  *7 

In  memory  of  joy  that's  been 

Something  of  joy  is,  still ; 
Where  no  dew  is,  we  may  dabble  in 

A  dream  of  the  dew  at  will. 

All  with  the  dusty  city's  throng 

Walled  round,  I  mused  to-day 
Of  flowery  sheets  lying  white  along 

The  pleasant  grass  of  the  way. 

Under  the  hedge  by  the  brawling  brook 

I  heard  the  woodpecker's  tap, 
And  the  drunken  trills  of  the  blackbirds  shook 
The  sassafras  leaves  in  my  lap. 

I  thought  of  the  rainy  morning  air 

Dropping  down  through  the  pine, 
Of  furrows  fresh  from  the  shining  share, 

And  smelling  sweeter  than  wine. 

Of  the  soft,  thick  moss,  and  how  it  grew 

With  silver  beads  impearled, 
In  the  well  that  we  used  to  think  ran  through 

To  the  other  side  of  the  world. 

I  thought  of  the  old  barn  set  about 

With  its  stacks  of  sweet,  dry  hay ; 
Of  the  swallows  flying  in  and  out 

Through  the  gables,  steep  and  gray  ; 

Thought  of  the  golden  hum  of  the  bees, 
Of  the  cocks  with  their  heads  so  high, 

Making  it  morn  in  the  tops  of  the  trees 
Before  it  was  morn  in  the  sky. 


272  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 

And  of  the  home,  of  the  dear  old  home, 
With  its  brown  and  rose-bound  wall, 

Where  we  fancied  death  could  never  come  ■ 
I  thought  of  it  more  than  of  all. 

Each  childish  play-ground  memory  claims, 

Telling  me  here,  and  thus, 
We  called  to  the  echoes  by  their  names. 

Till  we  made  them  answer  us. 

Thank  God,  when  other  power  decays, 

And  other  pleasures  die, 
We  still  may  set  our  dark  to-days 

In  the  light  of  days  gone  by. 


A  SEA  SONG. 

Come,  make  for  me  a  little  song  — 
'Twas  so  a  spirit  said  to  me  — 

And  make  it  just  four  verses  long, 
And  make  it  sweet  as  it  can  be, 
And  make  it  all  about  the  sea. 

Sing  me  about  the  wild  waste  shore, 
Where,  long  and  long  ago,  with  me 

You  watched  the  silver  sails  that  bore 
The  great,  strong  ships  across  the  sea  — 
The  blue,  the  bright,  the  boundless  sea. 

Sing  me  about  the  plans  we  planned  : 
How  one  of  those  good  ships  should  be 


SERMONS  IN  STONES.  273 

My  way  to  find  some  flowery  land 
Away  beyond  the  misty  sea, 
Where,  ahvay,  you  should  live  with  me. 

Sing,  lastly,  how  our  hearts  were  caught 
Up  into  heaven,  because  that  we 

Knew  not  the  flowery  land  we  sought 
Lay  all  beyond  that  other  sea  — 
That  soundless,  sailless,  solemn  sea. 


SERMONS  IN  STONES. 

Flower  of  the  deep  red  zone, 
Rain  the  fine  light  about  thee,  near  and  far, 
Hold  the  wide  earth,  so  as  the  evening  star 

Holdeth  all  heaven,  alone, 
And  with  thy  wondrous  glory  make  men  see 
His  greater  glory  who  did  fashion  thee  ! 

Sing,  little  goldfinch,  sing  ! 
Make  the  rough  billows  lift  their  curly  ears 
And  listen,  fill  the  violets'  eyes  with  tears, 

Make  the  green  leaves  to  swing 
As  in  a  dance,  when  thou  dost  hie  along, 
Showing  the  sweetness  whence  thou  get'st  thy  song. 

O  daisies  of  the  hills, 
When  winds  do  pipe  to  charm  ye,  be  not  slow. 
Crowd  up,  crowd  up,  and  make  your  shoulders  show 

White  o'er  the  daffodils  ! 
18 


S 74  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME 

Yea,  shadow  forth  through  your  excelling  grace 
With  whom  ye  have  held  counsel  face  to  face. 

Fill  fuller  our  desire, 
Gay  grasses  \  trick  your  lowly  stems  with  green, 
And  wear  your  splendors  even  as  a  queen 

Weareth  her  soft  attire. 
Unfold  the  cunning  mystery  of  design 
That  combs  out  all  your  skirts  to  ribbons  fine. 

And  O  my  heart,  my  heart, 
Be  careful  to  go  strewing  in  and  out 
Thy  way  with  good  deeds,  lest  it  come  about 

That  when  thou  shalt  depart, 
No  low  lamenting  tongue  be  found  to  say, 
The  world  is  poorer  since  thou  went'st  away  1 

•  Thou  shouldst  not  idly  beat, 
While  beauty  draweth  good  men's  thoughts  to  prayei 
Even  as  the  bird's  wing  draweth  out  the  air, 

But  make  so  fair  and  sweet 
Thy  house  of  clay,  some  dusk  shall  spread  about, 
When  death  unlocks  the  door  and  lets  thee  out. 


MY   PICTURE. 

Ah,  how  the  eye  on  the  picture  stops 
Where  the  lights  of  memory  shine  ! 

My  friend,  to  thee  I  will  leave  the  sea, 
If  only  this  be  mine, 

For  the  thought  of  the  breeze  in  the  tops  of  the  tree9 
Stirs  my  blood  like  wine  ! 


MY  PICTURE.  175 

I  will  leave  the  sea  and  leave  the  ships, 
And  the  light-house,  taper  and  tall, 

The  bar  so  low,  whence  the  fishers  go, 
And  the  fishers'  wives  and  all, 

[f  thou  wilt  agree  to  leave  to  me 
This  picture  for  my  wall. 

I  leave  thee  all  the  palaces, 

With  their  turrets  in  the  sky  — 
The  hunting-grounds,  the  hawks  and  hounds  — 

They  please  nor  ear  nor  eye ; 
But  the  sturdy  strokes  on  the  sides  o'  the  oaks 

Make  my  pulses  fly. 

The  old  cathedral,  filling  all 

The  street  with  its  shadow  brown, 
The  organ  grand,  and  the  choiring  band, 

And  the  priest  with  his  shaven  crown ; 
'Tis  the  wail  of  the  hymn  in  the  wild-wood  dim, 

That  bends  and  bows  me  down. 

The  shepherd  piping  to  his  flock 

In  the  merry  month  of  the  May, 
The  lady  fair  with  the  golden  hair, 

And  the  knight  so  gallant  and  gay  — 
For  the  wood  so  drear  that  is  pictured  here, 

I  give  them  all  away. 

I  give  the  cities  and  give  the  sea, 

The  ships  and  the  bar  so  low, 
\nd  fishers  and  wives  whose  dreary  lives 

Speak  from  the  canvas  so  ; 
\nd  for  all  of  these  I  must  have  the  trees  — 

The  trees  on  the  hills  of  snow  ! 


IJO  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 

And  shall  we  be  agreed,  my  friend  ? 

Shall  it  stand  as  I  have  said  ? 
For  the  sake  of  the  shade  wherein  I  played, 

And  for  the  sake  of  my  dead, 
That  lie  so  low  on  the  hills  of  snow, 

Shall  it  be  as  I  have  said  ? 


MORNING  IN  THE  MOUNTAINS. 

Morn  on  the  mountains !  streaks  of  roseate  light 
Up  the  high  east  athwart  the  shadows  run  ; 

The  last  low  star  fades  softly  out  of  sight, 
And  the  gray  mists  go  forth  to  meet  the  sun. 

And  now  from  every  sheltering  shrub  and  vine, 
And  thicket  wild  with  many  a  tangled  spray, 

And  from  the  birch  and  elm  and  rough-browed  pine, 
The  birds  begin  to  serenade  the  day. 

And  now  the  cock  his  sleepy  harem  thrills 

With  clarion  calls,  and  down  the  flowery  dells ; 

And  from  their  mossy  hollows  in  the  hills 

The  sheep  have  started  all  their  tinkling  bells. 

Lo,  the  great  sun  !  and  nature  everywhere 
Is  all  alive,  and  sweet  as  she  can  be  ; 

A  thousand  happy  sounds  are  in  the  air, 
A  thousand  by  the  rivers  and  the  sea. 

The  dipping  oar,  the  boatman's  cheerful  horn, 
The  well-sweep,  creaking  in  its  rise  and  fall ; 


MORNING  IN  THE  MOUNTAINS.  »77 

And  pleasantly  along  the  springing  corn, 
The  music  of  the  ploughshare,  best  of  all,  — 

The  insect's  little  hum,  the  whir  and  beat 
Of  myriad  wings,  the  mower's  song  so  blithe, 

The  patter  of  the  schoolboy's  naked  feet, 
The  joyous  ringing  of  the  whetted  scythe,  — 

The  low  of  kine,  the  falling  meadow  bar, 

The  teamster's  whistle  gay,  the  droning  round 

Of  the  wet  mill-wheel,  and  the  tuneful  jar 
Of  hollow  milk-pans,  swell  the  general  sound. 

And  by  the  sea,  and  in  each  vale  and  glen 
Are  happy  sights,  as  well  as  sounds  to  hear, 

The  world  of  things,  and  the  great  world  of  men, 
All,  all  is  busy,  busy  far  and  near. 

The  ant  is  hard  at  work,  and  everywhere 

The  bee  is  balanced  on  her  wings  so  brown ; 

And  the  black  spicier  on  her  slender  stair 
Is  running  down  and  up,  and  up  and  down. 

The  pine-wood  smoke  in  bright,  fantastic  curls, 
Above  the  low-roofed  homestead  sweeps  away, 

And  o'er  the  groups  of  merry  boys  and  girls 
That  pick  the  berries  bright,  or  rake  the  hay. 

Morn  on  the  mountains  !   the  enkindling  skies, 
Tin-  flowery  fields,  the  meadows,  and  the  sea, 

All  an-  so  fair,  the  heart  within  me  erics, 
How  goodj  how  wondrous  good  our  God  must  be 


373  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 


THE  THISTLE  FLOWER. 

My  homely  flower  that  blooms  along 

The  dry  and  dusty  ways, 
I  have  a  mind  to  make  a  song, 

And  make  it  in  thy  praise  ; 
For  thou  art  favored  of  my  heart, 
Humble  and  outcast  as  thou  art. 

Though  never  with  the  plants  of  grace 

In  garden  borders  set, 
Full  often  have  I  seen  thy  face 

With  tender  tear-drops  wet, 
And  seen  thy  gray  and  ragged  sleeves 
All  wringing  with  them,  morns  and  eves. 

Albeit  thou  livest  in  a  bush 

Of  such  unsightly  form, 
Thou  hast  not  any  need  to  blush  — 

Thou  hast  thine  own  sweet  charm  ; 
And  for  that  charm  I  love  thee  so, 
And  not  for  any  outward  show. 

The  iron-weed,  so  straight  and  fine, 

Above  thy  head  may  rise, 
And  all  in  glossy  purple  shine ; 

But  to  my  partial  eyes 
It  cannot  harm  thee  —  thou  hast  still 
A  place  no  finer  flower  can  fill. 

The  fennel,  she  is  courted  at 
The  porch-side  and  the  door  — 


MY  DARLINGS.  279 

Thou  hast  no  lovers,  and  for  that 

I  love  thee  all  the  more  j 
Only  the  wind  and  rain  to  be 
Thy  friends,  and  keep  thee  company. 

So,  being  left  to  take  thine  ease 

Behind  thy  thorny  wall, 
Thy  little  head  with  vanities 

Has  not  been  turned  at  all. 
And  all  field  beauties  give  me  grace 
To  praise  thee  to  thy  very  face. 

So,  thou  shalt  evermore  belong 
To  me  from  this  sweet  hour, 
And  I  will  take  thee  for  my  song, 
-    And  take  thee  for  my  flower, 
And  by  the  great,  and  proud,  and  high 
Unenvied,  we  will  live  and  die. 


MY    DARLINGS. 

My  Rose,  so  red  and  round, 
My  Daisy,  darling  of  the  summer  weather, 
You  must  go  down  now,  and  keep  house  together, 

Low  underground ! 

O  little  silver  line 
Of  meadow  water,  ere  the  cloud  rise  darkling, 
Slip  out  of  sight,  and  with  your  comely  sparkling 

Make  their  hearth  shine. 


280  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND   HOME. 

Leaves  of  the  garden  bowers, 
The  frost  is  coming  soon,  —  your  prime  is  over ; 
So  gently  fall,  and  make  a  soft,  warm  cover 

To  house  my  flowers. 

Lithe  willow,  too,  forego 
The  crown  that  makes  you  queen  of  woodland  graces, 
Nor  leave  the  winds  to  shear  the  lady  tresses 

From  your  drooped  brow. 

Oak,  held  by  strength  apart 
From  all  the  trees,  stop  now  your  stems  from  growing, 
And  send  the  sap,  while  yet  'tis  bravely  flowing, 

Back  to  your  heart. 

And  ere  the  autumn  sleet 
Freeze  into  ice,  or  sift  to  bitter  snowing, 
Make  compact  with  your  peers  for  overstrowing 

My  darlings  sweet. 

So  when  their  sleepy  eyes 
Shall  be  unlocked  by  May  with  rainy  kisses, 
They  to  the  sweet  renewal  of  old  blisses 

Refreshed  may  rise. 

Lord,  in  that  evil  day 
When   my  own  wicked   thoughts   like  thieves  waylav 

me, 
Or  when  pricked  conscience  rises  up  to  slay  me, 

Shield  me,  I  pray. 

Aye,  when  the  storm  shall  drive, 
Spread  thy  two  blessed  hands  like  leaves  above  me, 


THE  FIELD  SWEET-BRIER.  281 

And  with  thy  great  love,  though  none  else  should  love 
me, 
Save  me  alive ! 

Heal  with  thy  peace  my  strife  ; 
And  as  the  poet  with  his  golden  versing 
Lights  his  low  house,  give  me,  thy  praise  rehearsing, 

To  light  my  life. 

Shed  down  thy  grace  in  showers, 
And  if  some  roots  of  good,  at  thy  appearing, 
Be  found  in  me,  transplant  them  for  the  rearing 

Of  heavenly  flowers. 


THE  FIELD  SWEET-BRIER. 

I  love  the  flowers  that  come  about  with  spring, 
And  whether  they  be  scarlet,  white,  or  blue, 

It  mattereth  to  me  not  anything  ; 

For  when  I  see  them  full  of  sun  and  dew, 

My  heart  doth  get  so  full  with  its  delight, 

I  know  not  blue  from  red,  nor  red  from  white. 

Sometimes  I  choose  the  lily,  without  stain  ; 

The  royal  rose  sometimes  the  best  I  call  ; 
Then  the  low  daisy,  dancing  with  the  rain, 

Doth  seem  to  me  the  finest  llower  of  all ; 
And  yet  if  only  one  could  bloom  for  me  — ■ 
I  know  right  well  what  flower  that  one  would  be  I 


282  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 

Yea,  so  I  think  my  native  wilding  brier, 

With  just  her  thin  four  leaves,  and  stem  so  rough, 

Could,  with  her  sweetness,  give  me  my  desire, 
Aye,  all  my  life  long  give  me  sweets  enough  ; 

For  though  she  be  not  vaunted  to  excel, 

She  in  all  modest  grace  aboundeth  well. 

And  I  would  have  no  whit  the  less  content, 
Because  she  hath  not  won  the  poet's  voice, 

To  pluck  her  little  stars  for  ornament, 

And  that  no  man  were  poorer  for  my  choice, 

Since  she  perforce  must  shine  above  the  rest 

In  comely  looks,  because  I  love  her  best ! 

When  fancy  taketh  wing,  and  wills  to  go 
Where  all  selected  glories  blush  and  bloom, 

I  search  and  find  the  flower  that  used  to  grow 
Close  by  the  door-stone  of  the  dear  old  home  — 

The  flower  whose  knitted  roots  we  did  divide 

For  sad  transplanting,  when  the  mother  died. 

All  of  the  early  and  the  latter  May, 

And  through  the  windless  heats  of  middle  June, 
Our  green-armed  brier  held  for  us  day  by  day, 

The  morning  coolness  till  the  afternoon ; 
And  every  bird  that  took  his  grateful  share, 
Sang  with  a  heavenlier  tongue  than  otherwhere. 

And  when  from  out  the  west  the  low  sun  shone, 
It  used  to  make  our  pulses  leap  and  thrill 

To  see  her  lift  her  shadow  from  the  stone, 
And  push  it  in  among  us  o'er  the  sill  — 

O'erstrow  with  flowers,  and  then  push  softly  in, 

As  if  she  were  our  very  kith  and  kin. 


THE  LITTLE  HOUSE   ON  THE  HILL.       283 

So,  seeing  still  at  evening's  golden  close 

This  shadow  with  our  childish  shadows  blend, 

We  came  to  love  our  simple  four-leaved  rose, 
As  if  she  were  a  sister  or  a  friend. 

And  if  my  eyes  all  flowers  but  one  must  lose, 

Our  wild  sweet-brier  would  be  the  one  to  choose. 


THE  LITTLE  HOUSE  ON  THE  HILL. 

0  Memory,  be  sweet  to  me  — 
Take,  take  all  else  at  will, 

So  thou  but  leave  me  safe  and  sound, 
Without  a  token  my  heart  to  wound, 
The  little  house  on  the  hill ! 

Take  all  of  best  from  east  to  west, 

So  thou  but  leave  me  still 
The  chamber,  where  in  the  starry  light 

1  used  to  lie  awake  at  night 
And  list  to  the  whip-poor-will. 

Take  violet-bed,  and  rose-tree  red, 

And  the  purple  flags  by  the  mill, 
The  meadow  gay,  and  the  garden-ground, 
But  leave,  O  leave  me  safe  and  sound 
The  little  house  on  the  hill  ! 

The  daisy-lane,  and  the  dove's  low  plane, 

And  the  cuckoo's  tender  bill, 
Take  one  ami  all,  but  leave  the  dreams 
That  turned  the  rafters  to  golden  beams, 
In  the  little  house  on  the  hill  1 


t84  POEMS  OF  NATURE  AND  HOME. 

The  gables  brown,  they  have  tumbled  down, 

And  dry  is  the  brook  by  the  mill  ; 
The  sheets  I  used  with  care  to  keep 
Have  wrapt  my  dead  for  the  last  long  sleep, 
In  the  valley,  low  and  still. 

But,  Memory,  be  sweet  to  me, 

And  build  the  walls,  at  will, 
Of  the  chamber  where  I  used  to  mark, 
So  softly  rippling  over  the  dark, 

The  song  of  the  whip-poor-will  ! 

Ah,  Memory,  be  sweet  to  me ! 

All  other  fountains  chill ; 
But  leave  that  song  so  weird  and  wild, 
Dear  as  its  life  to  the  heart  of  the  child, 

In  the  little  house  on  the  hill ! 


THE  OLD  HOUSE. 

My  little  birds,  with  backs  as  brown 
As  sand,  and  throats  as  white  as  frost, 

I've  searched  the  summer  up  and  down, 
And  think  the  other  birds  have  lost 

The  tunes  you  sang,  so  sweet,  so  low, 

About  the  old  house,  long  ago. 

My  little  flowers,  that  with  your  bloom 
So  hid  the  grass  you  grew  upon, 

A  child's  foot  scarce  had  any  room 

Between  you,  —  are  you  dead  and  gone  ? 


THE   OLD  HOUSE.  285 

I've  searched  through  fields  and  gardens  rare, 
Nor  found  your  likeness  anywhere. 

My  little  hearts,  that  beat  so  high 
With  love  to  God,  and  trust  in  men, 

O,  come  to  me,  and  say  if  I 

But  dream,  or  was  I  dreaming  then, 

What  time  we  sat  within  the  glow 

Of  the  old  house  hearth,  long  ago  ? 

My  little  hearts,  so  fond,  so  true, 

I  searched  the  world  all  far  and  wide, 

And  never  found  the  like  of  you  : 
God  grant  we  meet  the  other  side 

The  darkness  'twixt  us  now  that  stands, 

In  that  new  house  not  made  with  hands ! 


FOR  THE   LOST. 


LOST  LILIES. 

Show  you  her  picture  ?    Here  it  lies ! 

Hands  of  lilies,  and  lily-like  brow ; 
Mouth  that  is  bright  as  a  rose,  and  eyes 

That  are  just  the  soul's  sweetest  overflow. 

Darling  shoulders,  softly  pale, 

Borne  by  the  undulating  play 
Of  the  life  below,  up  out  of  their  veil, 

Like  lilies  out  o'  the  waves  o'  the  May. 

Throat  as  white  as  the  throat  of  a  swan, 
And  all  as  proudly  graceful  held  ; 

Fair,  bare  bosom  "  clothed  upon 
With  chastity,"  like  the  lady  of  eld. 

Tender  lids,  that  drooping  down, 

Chide  your  glances  over  bold  ; 
Fair,  with  a  golden  gleam  in  the  brown, 

And  brown  again  in  the  gleamy  gold. 

These  on  your  eyes  like  a  splendor  fall, 
And  you  marvel  not  at  my  love,  I  see ; 

But  it  was  not  one,  and  it  was  not  all, 
That  made  her  the  angel  she  was  to  me. 


LOST  LILIES.  287 

So  snut  the  picture  and  put  it  away, 

Your  fancy  is  only  thus  misled ; 
What  can  the  dull,  cold  semblance  say, 

When  the  spirit  and  life  of  the  life  is  fled  ? 

Seven  long  years,  and  seven  again, 

And  three  to  the  seven  —  a  weary  space  — 

The  weary  fingers  of  the  rain 

Have  drawn  the  daisies  over  her  face. 

Seven  and  seven  years,  and  three, 

The  leaves  have  faded  to  death  in  the  frost, 

Since  the  shadow  that  made  for  me 

The  world  a  shadow  my  pathway  crossed. 

And  now  and  then -some  meteor  gleam 
Has  broken  the  gloom  of  my  life  apart, 

Or  the  only  thread  of  some  raveled  dream 
Has  slid  like  sunshine  in  my  heart. 

But  never  a  planet,  steady  and  still, 
And  never  a  rainbow,  brave  and  fine, 

And  n-;ver  the  flowery  head  of  a  hill 
Has  made  the  cloud  of  my  life  to  shine. 

Yet  God  is  love !    and  this  I  trust, 

Though  summer  is  over  and  sweetness  done, 
That  all  my  lilies  are  safe,  in  the  dust, 

As  the)-  were  in  the  glow  of  the  great,  glad  sun 

Yea,  God  is  love,  and  love  is  might  I 
Mighty  as  surely  to  keep  as  to  make  ; 

And  the  sleepers,  sleeping  in  death's  dark  night, 
In  the  resurrection  of  life  shall  wake. 


288  FOR   THE  LOST. 


A  WONDER. 

Still  alway  groweth  in  me  the  great  wonder, 
When  all  the  fields  are  blushing  like  the  dawn, 

And  only  one  poor  little  flower  ploughed  under, 
That  I  can  see  no  flowers,  that  one  being  gone : 
No  flower  of  all,  because  of  one  being  gone. 

Aye,  ever  in  me  groweth  the  great  wonder, 
When  all  the  hills  are  shining,  white  and  red, 

And  only  one  poor  little  flower  ploughed  under, 
That  it  were  all  as  one  if  all  were  dead : 
Aye,  all  as  one  if  all  the  flowers  were  dead. 

I  cannot  feel  the  beauty  of  the  roses  ; 

Their  soft  leaves  seem  to  me  but  layers  of  dust ; 

Out  of  my  opening  hand  each  blessing  closes  : 
Nothing  is  left  me  but  my  hope  and  trust, 
Nothing  but  heavenly  hope  and  heavenly  trust. 

I  get  no  sweetness  of  the  sweetest  places  ; 
My  house,  my  friends  no  longer  comfort  me ; 

Strange  somehow  grow  the  old  familiar  faces ; 
For  I  can  nothing  have,  not  having  thee  : 
All  my  possessions  I  possessed  through  thee. 

Having,  I  have  them  not  —  strange  contradiction  ! 
Heaven  needs  must  cast  its  shadow  on  our  earth  ; 

Yea,  drown  us  in  the  waters  of  affliction 

Breast  high,  to  make  us  know  our  treasure's  worth, 
To  make  us  know  how  much  our  love  is  worth. 


MOST  BELOVED.  289 

And  while  I  mourn,  the  anguish  of  my  story 

Breaks,  as  the  wave  breaks  on  the  hindering  bar : 

Thou  art  but  hidden  in  the  deeps  of  glory, 
Even  as  the  sunshine  hides  the  lessening  star, 
And  with  true  love  I  love  thee  from  afar. 

I  know  our  Father  must  be  good,  not  evil, 
And  murmur  not,  for  faith's  sake,  at  my  ill  ; 

Nor  at  the  mystery  of  the  working  cavil, 
That  somehow  bindeth  all  things  in  his  will, 
And,  though  He  slay  me,  makes  me  trust  Him  still. 


MOST  BELOVED. 

My  heart  thou  makest  void,  and  full ; 

Thou  giv'st,  thou  tak'st  away  my  care  ; 
O  most  beloved  !  most  beautiful  ! 

I  miss,  and  find  thee  everywhere  1 

In  the  sweet  water,  as  it  flows  ; 

The  winds,  that  kiss  me  as  they  pass  ; 
The  starry  shadow  of  the  rose, 

Sitting  beside  her  on  the  grass ; 

The  daffodilly,  trying  to  bless 

With  better  light  the  beauteous  air; 

The  lily,  wearing  the  white  dress 
Of  sanctuary,  to  be  more  fair  ; 

The  lithe-armed,  dainty-fingered  brier, 
That  in  the  woods,  so  dim  and  drear, 
xo 


§90  FOR    THE  LOST. 

Lights  up  betimes  her  tender  fire 
To  soothe  the  homesick  pioneer  ; 

The  moth,  his  brown  sails  balancing 
Along  the  stubble,  crisp  and  dry  ; 

The  ground-flower,  with  a  blood-red  ring 
On  either  hand  ;  the  pewet's  cry  ; 

The  friendly  robin's  gracious  note  ; 

The  hills,  with  curious  weeds  o'errun  ; 
The  althea,  in  her  crimson  coat 

Tricked  out  to  please  the  wearied  sun  , 

The  dandelion,  whose  golden  share 
Is  set  before  the  rustic's  plough  ; 

The  hum  of  insects  in  the  air  ; 

The  blooming  bush  ;  the  withered  bough  ; 

The  coming  on  of  eve  ;  the  springs 
Of  daybreak,  soft  and  silver  bright  ; 

The  frost,  that  with  rough,  rugged  wings 
Blows  down  the  cankered  buds  ;   the  white, 

Long  drifts  of  winter  snow  ;  the  heat 
Of  August  falling  still  and  wide  ; 

Broad  cornfields  ;  one  chance  stalk  of  wheat; 
Standing  with  bright  head  hung  aside : 

All  things,  my  darling,  all  things  seem 
In  some  strange  way  to  speak  of  thee  ; 

Nothing  is  half  so  much  a  dream, 
Nothing  so  much  reality. 


MY  DARLINGS.  »9* 


MY   DARLINGS. 


When  steps  are  hurrying  homeward, 
And  night  the  world  o'erspreads, 

And  I  see  at  the  open  windows 
The  shining  of  little  heads, 

I  think  of  you,  my  darlings, 

In  your  low  and  lonesome  beds. 

And  when  the  latch  is  lifted, 
And  I  hear  the  voices  glad, 

I  feel  my  arms  more,  empty, 
My  heart  more  widely  sad ; 

For  we  measure  dearth  of  blessings 
By  the  blessings  we  have  had. 

But  sometimes  in  sweet  visions 
My  faith  to  sight  expands, 

And  with  my  babes  in  his  bosom, 
My  Lord  before  me  stands, 

And  I  feel  on  my  head,  bowed  lowly 
The  touches  of  little  hands. 

Then  pain  is  lost  in  patience, 
And  tears  no  longer  flow : 

They  are  only  dead  to  the  sorrow 
And  sin  of  life,  I  know ; 

For  if  they  were  not  immortal 
My  love  would  make  them  sa 


292  FOR   THE  LOST. 


IN   DESPAIR 

I  know  not  what  the  world  may  be,  — 
For  since  I  have  nor  hopes  nor  fears, 
All  things  seem  strange  and  far  to  me, 
As  though  I  had  sailed  on  some  sad  sea, 
For  years  and  years,  and  years  and  years  I 

Sailed  through  blind  mists,  you  understand, 
And  leagues  of  bleak  and  bitter  foam  ; 

Seeing  belts  of  rock  and  bars  of  sand, 

But  never  a  strip  of  flowery  land, 

And  never  the  light  of  hearth  or  home. 

All  day  and  night,  all  night  and  day, 

I  sit  in  my  darkened  house  alone ; 
Come  thou,  whose  laughter  sounds  so  gay, 
Come  hither,  for  charity  come  !  and  say 

What  flowers  are  faded,  and  what  are  blown. 

Does  the  great,  glad  sun,  as  he  used  to,  rise  ? 

Or  is  it  always  a  weary  night  ? 
A  shadow  has  fallen  across  my  eyes, 
Come  hither  and  tell  me  about  the  skies,  — 

Are  there  drops  of  rain  ?  are  there  drops  of  light  ? 

Keep  not,  dear  heart,  so  far  away, 

With  thy  laughter  light  and  laughter  low, 
But  come  to  my  darkened  house,  I  pray, 
And  tell  me  what  of  the  fields  to-day,  — 
Or  lilies,  or  snow  ?  or  lilies,  or  snow? 


WAIT.  293 

Do  the  hulls  of  the  ripe  nuts  hang  apart  ? 

Do  the  leaves  of  the  locust  drop  in  the  well  ? 
Or  is  it  the  time  for  the  buds  to  start  ? 
O  gay  little  heart,  O  little  gay  heart, 

Come  hither  and  tell,  come  hither  and  tell ! 

The  day  of  my  hope  is  cold  and  dead, 

The  sun  is  down  and  the  light  is  gone  ; 
Come  hither  thou  of  the  roses  red. 
Of  the  gay,  glad  heart,  and  the  golden  head, 
And  tell  of  the  dawn,  of  the  dew  and  the  dawn. 


WAIT. 

Go  not  far  in  the  land  of  light ! 

A  little  while  by  the  golden  gate, 
Lest  that  I  lose  you  out  of  sight, 

Wait,  my  darling,  wait. 

Forever  now  from  your  happy  eyes 

Life's  scenic  picture  has  passed  away; 

You  have  entered  into  realities, 
And  I  am  yet  at  the  play  ! 

Yet  at  the  play  of  time  —  through  all, 

Thinking  of  you,  and  your  high  estate  ; 
\  little  while,  ami  the  curtain  will  fall  — 
'.  my  darling,  wait  ! 

Mine  is  a  dreary  part  to  do  — 

A  mask  of  mirth  on  a  mourning  brow; 


294  FOR    THE   LOST. 

The  chance  approval,  the  flower  or  two, 
Are  nothing  —  nothing  now  ! 

The  last  sad  act  is  drawing  on  ; 

A  little  while  by  the  golden  gate 
Of  the  holy  heaven  to  which  you  are  gone, 

Wait,  my  darling,  wait. 


RELIGIOUS    POEMS. 


THE  GOLDEN  MEAN. 

Lest  to  evil  ways  I  run 

When  I  go  abroad, 
Shine  about  me,  like  the  sun, 

O  my  gracious  Lord  ! 
Make  the  clouds,  with  silver  glowing, 
Like  a  mist  of  lilies  blowing 

O'er  the  summer  sward  ; 
And  mine  eyes  keep  Thou  from  being 
Ever  satisfied  with  seeing, 

O  my  light,  my  Lord  ! 

..est  my  thoughts  on  discontent 

Should  in  sleep  be  fed, 
Make  the  darkness  like  a  tent 

Round  about  my  1 
Sweet  as  honey  to  the  taster, 
Make  my  dreams  be,  O  my  Master, 
Sweet  as  hone\',  ere  it  loses 

Spice  of  meadow-blooms, 

While  the  taster  tastes  the  rose3 
In  the  golden  combs. 

I. est   1   live  in  lowly  ease, 
<  >1   in  lofty  scorn, 


296  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

Make  me  like  the  strawberries 

That  run  among  the  corn  ; 
Grateful  in  the  shadows  keeping, 
Of  the  broad  leaves  o'er  me  sweeping  \ 
In  the  gold  crop's  stead,  to  render 
Some  small  berries,  red  and  tender, 
Like  the  blushing  morn. 

Lest  that  pain  to  pain  be  placed  — 

Weary  day  to  day, 
Let  me  sit  at  good  men's  feasts 

When  the  house  is  gay  : 
Let  my  heart  beat  up  to  measures 
Of  all  comfortable  pleasures, 

Till  the  morning  gray, 
O'er  the  eastern  hill-tops  glancing, 
Sets  the  woodlands  all  to  dancing, 

And  scares  night  away. 

Lest  that  I  in  vain  pretense 

Careless  live  and  move, 
Heart  and  mind,  and  soul  and  sense, 

Quicken  Thou  with  love  ! 
Fold  its  music  over,  under, 
Breath  of  flute  and  boom  of  thunder, 
Nor  make  satisfied  my  hearing, 
As  I  go  on,  nearing,  nearing, 

Him  whose  name  is  Love. 


THE   FIRE  BY   THE  SEA.  297 


THE  FIRE  BY  THE  SEA. 

There  were  seven  fishers,  with  nets  in  their  hands, 

And  they  walked  and  talked  by  the  sea-side  sands ; 
Yet  sweet  as  the  sweet  dew-fall 

The  words  they  spake,  though  they  spake  so  low, 

Across  the  long,  dim  centuries  flow, 
And  we  know  them,  one  and  all  — 
Aye  !  know  them  and  love  them  all. 

Seven  sad  men  in  the  days  of  old, 
And  one  was  gentle,  and  one  was  bold, 

And  they  walked  with  downward  eyes  ; 
The  bold  was  Peter,  the  gentle  was  John, 
And  they  all  were  sad,  for  the  Lord  was  gone, 

And  they  knew  not  if  He  would  rise  — 

Knew  not  if  the  dead  would  rise. 

The  livelong  night,  'till  the  moon  went  out 
In  the  drowning  waters,  they  beat  about ; 

Beat  slow  through  the  fog  their  way  ; 
And  the  sails  drooped  down  with  wringing  wet, 
And  no  man  drew  but  an  empty  net, 

And  now  'twas  the  break  of  the  day  — 

The  great,  glad  break  of  the  day. 

1  Cast  in  your  nets  on  the  other  side  !  " 
('Twas  Jesus  speaking  across  the  tide  ;) 

And  they  cast  and  were  dragging  hard; 
But  that  disciple  whom  Jesus  loved 
Cried  straightway  out,  for  his  heart  was  moved: 

11  It  is  our  risen  Lord  — 

Our  Master,  and  our  Lord  1 " 


2o8  ■     RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

Then  Simon,  girding  his  fisher's  coat, 
Went  over  the  nets  and  out  of  the  boat  — 

Aye  !  first  of  them  all  was  he  ; 

Repenting  sore  the  denial  past, 

He  feared  no  longer  his  heart  to  cast 

Like  an  anchor  into  the  sea  — 

Down  deep  in  the  hungry  sea. 

And  the  others,  through  the  mists  so  dim, 
In  a  little  ship  came  after  him, 

Dragging  their  net  through  the  tide ; 
And  when  they  had  gotten  close  to  the  land 
They  saw  a  fire  of  coals  on  the  sand, 

And,  with  arms  of  love  so  wide, 

Jesus,  the  crucified ! 

'Tis  long,  and  long,  and  long  ago 
Since  the  rosy  lights  began  to  flow 

O'er  the  hills  of  Galilee  ; 
And  with  eager  eyes  and  lifted  hands 
The  seven  fishers  saw  on  the  sands 
The  fire  of  coals  by  the  sea  — 
On  the  wet,  wild  sands  by  the  sea. 

'Tis  long  ago,  yet  faith  in  our  souls 
Is  kindled  just  by  that  fire  of  coals 

That  streamed  o'er  the  mists  of  the  sea  ) 
Where  Peter,  girding  his  fisher's  coat, 
Went  over  the  nets  and  out  of  the  boat, 
To  answer,  "  Lov'st  thou  me  ?  " 
Thrice  over,  "  Lov'st  thou  me  ?  " 


THE  SURE    WITNESS.  299 


THE  SURE  WITNESS. 


The  solemn  wood  had  spread 

Shadows  around  my  head  ; 
"  Curtains  they  are,"  I  said, 
1  Hung  dim  and  still  about  the  house  of  prayer." 

Softly  among  the  limbs, 

Turning  the  leaves  of  hymns, 
I  heard  the  winds,  and  asked  if  God  were  there. 
No  voice  replied,  but  while  I  listening  stood, 
Sweet  peace  made  holy  hushes  through  the  wood, 

With  ruddy,  open  hand, 

I  saw  the  wild  rose  stand 
Beside  the  green  gate  of  the  summer  hills ; 

And  pulling  at  her  dress, 

I  cried,  "  Sweet  hermitess, 
Hast  thou  beheld  Him  who  the  dew  distills  ?  " 
No  voice  replied,  but  while  I  listening  bent, 
Her  gracious  beauty  made  my  heart  content 

The  moon  in  splendor  shone  ; 
"  She  walketh  heaven  alone, 
And  seeth  all  things,"  to  myself  I  mused  ; 
"Hast  thotl  beheld  Him,  then, 
Who  hides  Himself  from  men 
In  that  great  power  through  nature  interfused  ? " 
No  speech  made  answer,  and  no  sign  appeared, 
But  in  the  silenee  I  was  soothed  and  cheered. 

Waking  one  time,  strange  awe 
Thrilling  my  soul,  I  saw 


300  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

A  kingly  splendor  round  about  the  night ; 

Such  cunning  work  the  hand 

Of  spinner  never  planned, — 
The  finest  wool  may  not  be  washed  so  white. 
"  Hast  thou  come  out  of  heaven  ? "  I  asked  ;  and  lo ! 
The  snow  was  all  the  answer  of  the  snow. 

Then  my  heart  said,  "  Give  o'er ; 

Question  no  more,  no  more ! 
The  wind,  the  snow-storm,  the  wild  hermit  flower, 

The  illuminated  air, 

The  pleasure  after  prayer, 
Proclaim  the  unoriginated  Power ! 
The  mystery  that  hides  Him  here  and  there, 
Bears  the  sure  witness  He  is  everywhere." 


ONE  DUST. 

Thou,  under  Satan's  fierce  control, 
Shall  Heaven  its  final  rest  bestow  ? 

I  know  not,  but  I  know^a  soul 

That  might  have  fallen  as  darkly  low. 

I  judge  thee  not,  what  depths  of  ill 
Soe'er  thy  feet  have  found,  or  trod  ; 

I  know  a  spirit  and  a  will 

As  weak,  but  for  the  grace  of  God. 

Shalt  thou  with  full-day  laborers  stand, 
Who  hardly  canst  have  pruned  one  vine? 

I  know  not,  but  I  know  a  hand 
With  an  infirmity  like  thine. 


MY  CREED,  301 

Shalt  thou  who  hast  with  scoffers  part, 
E'er  wear  the  crown  the  Christian  wears  ? 

I  know  not,  but  I  know  a  heart 

As  flinty,  but  for  tears  and  prayers. 

Have  mercy,  O  Thou  Crucified ! 

For  even  while  I  name  thy  name, 
I  know  a  tongue  that  might  have  lied 

Like  Peter's,  and  am  bowed  with  shame. 

Fighters  of  good  rights  — just,  unjust  — 
The  weak  who  faint,  the  frail  who  fall  — 

Of  one  blood,  of  the  self-same  dust, 

Thou,  God  of  love,  hast  made  them  all. 


MY  CREED 

I  hold  that  Christian  grace  abounds 
Where  charity  is  seen  ;  that  when 

We  climb  to  heaven,  'tis  on  the  rounds 
Of  love  to  men. 

I  hold  all  else,  named  piety, 

A  selfish  scheme,  a  vain  pretense ; 

Where  centre  is  not,  can  there  be 
Circumference  ? 

This  1  moreover  hold,  and  dare 
Affirm  where'er  my  rhyme  may  go: 

Whatever  things  be  .sweet  or  fair, 
Love  makes  them  so. 


302  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

Whether  it  be  the  lullabies 

That  charm  to  rest  the  nursling  bird, 
Or  that  sweet  confidence  of  sighs 

And  blushes,  made  without  a  word. 

Whether  the  dazzling  and  the  flush 
Of  softly  sumptous  garden  bowers, 

Or  by  some  cabin  door,  a  bush 
Of  ragged  flowers. 

Tis  not  the  wide  phylactery, 

Nor  stubborn  fast,  nor  stated  prayers, 

That  make  us  saints  ;  we  judge  the  tree 
By  what  it  bears. 

And  when  a  man  can  live  apart 
From  works,  on  theologic  trust, 

I  know  the  blood  about  his  heart 
Is  dry  as  dust. 


LAST   POEMS. 


SPENT  AND  MISSPENT. 

Stay  yet  a  little  longer  in  the  sky, 

O  golden  color  of  the  evening  sun  ! 
Let  not  the  sweet  day  in  its  sweetness  die, 

While  my  day's  work  is  only  just  begun. 

Counting  the  happy  chances  strewn  about 

Thick  as  the  leaves,  and  saying  which  was  best, 

The  rosy  lights  of  morning  all  went  out, 
And  it  was  burning  noon,  and  time  to  rest 

Then  leaning  low  upon  a  piece  of  shade, 

Fringed  round  with  violets  and  pansies  sweet, 

My  heart  and  I,  I  said,  will  be  delayed, 

And  plan  our  work  while  cools  the  sultry  heat 

Deep  in  the  hills,  and  out  of  silence  vast, 
A  waterfall  played  up  his  silver  tune  ; 

My  plans  lost  purpose,  fell  to  dreams  at  last, 
And  held  me  late  into  the  afternoon. 

But  when  the  idle  pleasure  ceased  to  please, 
And  I  awoke,  and  not  a  plan  was  planned, 

Just  as  a  drowning  man  at  what  he  sees 

Catches  °or  life,  I  caught  the  thing  at  hand. 


3©4  LAST  POEMS. 

And  so  life's  little  work-day  hour  has  all 

Been  spent  and  misspent  doing  what  I  could, 

And  in  regrets  and  efforts  to  recall 

The  chance  of  having,  being,  what  I  would. 

And  so  sometimes  1  cannot  choose  but  cry, 
Seeing  my  iate-sown  flowers  are  hardly  set  — 

O  darkening  color  of  the  evening  sky, 
Spare  me  the  day  a  little  longer  yet  I 


LAST  AND  BEST. 

Sometimes,  when  rude,  cold  shadows  rup 

Across  whatever  light  I  see  ; 
When  all  the  work  that  I  have  done, 

Or  can  do,  seems  but  vanity  ; 

I  strive,  nor  vainly  strive,  to  get 

Some  little  heart's-ease  from  the  day 

When  all  the  weariness  and  fret 
Shall  vanish  from  my  life  away  ; 

For  I,  with  grandeur  clothed  upon, 
Shall  lie  in  state  and  take  my  rest, 

And  all  my  household,  strangers  grown, 
Shall  hold  me  for  an  honored  guest 

But  ere  that  day  when  all  is  set 
In  order,  very  still  and  grand, 

And  while  my  feet  are  lingering  yet 
Along  this  troubled  border-land, 


IN   THE   DARK.  305 

What  things  will  be  the  first  to  fade, 

And  down  to  utter  darkness  sink  ? 
The  treasures  that  my  hands  have  laid 

Where  moth  and  rust  corrupt,  I  think. 

And  Love  will  be  the  last  to  wait 

And  light  my  gloom  with  gracious  gleams  \ 

For  Love  lies  nearer  heaven's  glad  gate, 
Than  all  imagination  dreams. 

Aye,  when  my  soul  its  mask  shall  drop, 

The  twain  to  be  no  more  at  one, 
Love,  with  its  prayers,  shall  bear  me  up 

Beyond  the  lark's  wings,  and  the  sun. 


IN  THE  DARK 

Has  the  Spring  come  back,  my  darling, 

Has  the  long  and  soaking  rain 

Been  moulded  into  the  tender  leaves 

Of  the  gay  and  growing  grain  — 

The  leaves  so  sweet  of  barley  and  wheat 

All  moulded  out  of  the  rain  ? 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  see  them  grow, 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  see  them  blow, 

All  over  field  and  plain  — 

The  billows  sweet  of  barley  and  wheat 

All  moulded  out  of  the  rain. 

Are  the  QOWCTS  dressed  OUt,  my  darling, 

In  their  kerchiefs  plain  or  bright  — 


306  LAST  POEMS. 

The  grounawort  gay,  and  the  lady  of  May, 

In  her  petticoat  pink  and  white  ? 

The  fair  little  flowers,  the  rare  little  flowers, 

Taking  and  making  the  light? 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  see  them  all, 

The  little  and  low,  the  proud  and  tall, 

In  their  kerchiefs  brave  and  bright, 

Stealing  out  of  the  morns  and  eves, 

To  braid  embroidery  round  their  leaves, 

The  gold  and  scarlet  light. 

Have  the  birds  come  back,  my  darling, 

The  birds  from  over  the  sea  ? 

Are  they  cooing  and  courting  together 

In  bush  and  bower  and  tree  ? 

The  mad  little  birds,  the  glad  little  birds, 

The  birds  from  over  the  sea  ! 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  hear  them  sing, 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  see  them  swing 

In  the  top  of  our  garden  tree  ! 

The  mad  little  birds,  the  glad  little  birds, 

The  birds  from  over  the  sea ! 

Are  they  building  their  nests,  my  darling, 

In  the  stubble,  brittle  and  brown  ? 

Are  they  gathering  threads,  and  silken  shreds, 

And  wisps  of  wool  and  down, 

With  their  silver  throats  and  speckled  coats, 

And  eyes  so  bright  and  so  brown  ? 

O,  and  I  would  I  could  see  them  make 

And  line  their  nests  for  love's  sweet  sake, 

With  shreds  of  wool  and  down, 

With  their  eyes  so  bright  and  brown  ! 


AN  INVALID'S  PLEA.  307 

AN  INVALID'S  PLEA. 

O  Summer!  my  beautiful,  beautiful  Summer! 

I  look  in  thy  face,  and  I  long  so  to  live  ; 
But  ah  !  hast  thou  room  for  an  idle  new-comer, 

With  all  things  to  take,  and  with  nothing  to  give  ? 
With  all  things  to  take  of  thy  dear  loving-kindness, 

The  wine  of  thy  sunshine,  the  dew  of  thy  air  ; 
And  with  nothing  to  give  but  the  deafness  and  blind- 
ness 

Begot  in  the  depths  of  an  utter  despair  ? 

As  if  the  gay  harvester  meant  but  to  screen  her, 

The  black  spider  sits  in  her  low  loom,  and  weaves : 
A  lesson  of  trust  to  the  tender-eyed  gleaner 

That  bears  in  her   brown    arms    the    gold    of  the 
sheaves. 
The  blue-bird  that  trills  her  low  lay  in  the  bushes 

Provokes  from  the  robin  a  merrier  glee  ; 
The  rose  pays  the  sun  for  his  kiss  with  her  blushes, 

And  all  things  pay  tithes  to  thee  —  all  things  but  me 

At  even,  the  fire-Hies  trim  with  their  glimmers 
The  wild,  weedy  skirts  of  the  field  and  the  wood  ; 

At  morning,  those  dear  little  yellow-winged  swimmers 
The  butterflies,  hasten  to  make  their  place  good. 

The  violet,  alway  so  white  and  so  saintly  ; 

The  cardinal,  warming  the  frost  with  her  blaze; 
The  ant,  keeping  house  at  ber  sand  hearth  so  quaintly 
Reproaches  my  idle  and  indolent  ways. 

When  o'er  the  high  east  the  red  morning  is  breaking, 

And  driving  the  tmber  of  starlight  behind, 


308  LAST  POEMS. 

The  land  of  enchantment  I  leave,  on  awaking, 
Is  not  so  enchanted  as  that  which  I  find. 

And  when  the  low  west  by  the  sunset  is  flattered, 
And  locust  and  katydid  sing  up  their  best, 

Peace  conies  to  my  thoughts,  that  were  used  to  be  flut- 
tered, 
Like  doves  when  an  eagle's  wing  darkens  their  nest 

The  green  little  grasshopper,  weak  as  we  deem  her, 

Chirps,  day  in  and  out,  for  the  sweet  right  to  live  ; 
And  canst  thou,  O  Summer  !  make  room  for  a  dreamer, 

With  all  things  to  take,  and  with  nothing  to  give  ? 
Room  only  to  wrap  her  hot  cheeks  in  thy  shadows, 

And  all  on  thy  daisy-fringed  pillows  to  lie, 
And  dream  of  the  gates  of  the  glorious  meadows, 

Where  never  a  rose  of  the  roses  shall  die  ! 


THE  GREAT  QUESTION. 
How  are  the  dead  raised  up,  and  with  what  body  do  they  come  ? 

The  waves,  they  are  wildly  heaving, 

And  bearing  me  out  from  the  shore, 
And  I  know  of  the  things  I  am  leaving, 

But  not  of  the  things  before. 
O  Lord  of  Love,  whom  the  shape  of  a  dove 

Came  down  and  hovered  o'er, 
Descend  to-night  with  heavenly  light, 

And  show  me  the  farther  shore. 

There  is  midnight  darkness  o'er  me, 
And  'tis  light,  more  light,  I  crave  ; 


A   PENITENT'S  PLEA.  309 

The  billows  behind  and  before  me 

Are  gaping,  each  with  a  grave : 
Descend  to-night,  O  Lord  of  might, 

Who  died  our  souls  to  save  ; 
Descend  to-night,  my  Lord,  my  Light, 

And  walk  with  me  on  the  wave ! 

My  heart  is  heavy  to  breaking 

Because  of  the  mourners'  sighs, 
For  they  cannot  see  the  awak'ning, 

Nor  the  body  with  which  we  arise. 
Thou,  who  for  sake  of  men  didst  break 

The  awful  seal  of  the  tomb  — 
Show  them  the  way  into  life,  I  pray, 

And  the  body  with  which  we  come  1 

Comfort  their  pain  and  pining 

For  the  nearly  wasted  sands, 
With  the  many  mansions  shining 

In  the  house  not  made  with  hands  : 
And  help  them  by  faith  to  see  through  death 

To  that  brighter  and  better  shore, 
Where  they  never  shall  weep  who  are  fallen  asleep, 

And  never  be  sick  any  more. 


A  PENITENT'S  PLEA. 

Like  a  child  that  is  lost 
From  its  home  in  the  night, 

I  grope  through  the  darkness 
And  cry  for  the  light ; 


JIO  LAST  POEMS. 

Yea,  all  that  is  in  me 
Cries  out  for  the  day  — 

Come  Jesus,  my  Master, 
Illumine  my  way ! 

In  the  conflicts  that  pass 

'Twixt  my  soul  and  my  God, 
I  walk  as  one  walketh 

A  fire-path,  unshod ; 
And  in  my  despairing 

Sit  dumb  by  the  way  — 
Come  Jesus,  my  Master, 

And  heal  me,  I  pray  I 

I  know  the  fierce  flames 

Will  not  cease  to  uproll, 
Till  Thou  rainest  the  dew 

Of  thy  love  on  my  soul ; 
And  I  know  the  dumb  spirit 

Will  never  depart, 
Till  Thou  comest  and  makest 

Thy  house  in  my  heart. 

My  thoughts  lie  within  me 

As  waste  as  the  sands  ; 
O  make  them  be  musical 

Strings  in  thy  hands  1 
My  sins,  red  as  scarlet, 

Wash  white  as  a  fleece  — 
Come  Jesus,  my  Master, 

And  give  me  thy  peace ! 


PUTTING   OFF   THE   ARMOR.  3 1 


PUTTING  OFF  THE  ARMOR 

Why  weep  ye  for  the  falling 
Of  the  transient  twilight  gloom  ? 

I  am  weary  of  the  journey, 

And  have  come  in  sight  of  home. 

I  can  see  a  white  procession 

Sweep  melodiously  along, 
And  I  would  not  have  your  mourning 

Drown  the  sweetness  of  their  song. 

The  battle-strife  is  ended  ; 

I  have  scaled  the  hindering  wall. 
And  am  putting  off  the  armor 

Of  the  soldier  —  that  is  all  1 

Would  you  hide  me  from  my  pleasures  ? 

Would  you  hold  me  from  my  rest? 
From  my  serving  and  my  waiting 

I  am  called  to  be  a  guest ! 

Of  its  heavy,  hurtful  burdens 

Now  my  spirit  is  released : 
I  am  done  with  fasts  and  scourges, 

And  am  bidden  to  the  feast. 

While  you  see  the  sun  descending, 
While  you  lose  me  in  the  night, 

Lo,  the  heavenly  morn  is  breaking, 
And  my  soul  is  in  the  light. 


312  LAST  POEMS. 

I  from  faith  to  sight  am  rising 

While  in  deeps  of  doubt  you  sink  \ 

Tis  the  glory  that  divides  us, 
Not  the  darkness,  as  you  think. 

Then  lift  up  your  drooping  eyelids, 
And  take  heart  of  better  cheer ; 

'Tis  the  cloud  of  coming  spirits 
Makes  the  shadows  that  ye  fear. 

O,  they  come  to  bear  me  upward 
To  the  mansion  of  the  sky, 

And  to  change  as  I  am  changing 
Is  to  live,  and  not  to  die  ; 

Is  to  leave  the  pain,  the  sickness, 
And  the  smiting  of  the  rod, 

And  to  dwell  among  the  angels, 
In  the  City  of  our  God. 


LATER  POEMS  BY  PHCEBE  CARY 


BALLADS. 


THE  CHRISTMAS  SHEAF. 

"  Now,  good-wife,  bring  your  precious  hoard5' 

The  Norland  farmer  cried  ; 
1  And  heap  the  hearth,  and  heap  the  board, 

For  the  blessed  Christmas-tide. 

;<  And  bid  the  children  fetch,"  he  saia, 
"  The  last  ripe  sheaf  of  wheat, 
And  set  it  on  the  roof  o'erhead, 
That  the  birds  may  come  and  cat. 

*  And  this  we  do  for  his  dear  sake, 
The  Master  kind  and  good, 
Who,  of  the  loaves  He  blest  and  brake, 
Fed  all  the  multitude." 

Then  Fredrica,  and  Franz,  and  Paul, 
When  they  heard  their  father's  words. 

Put  up  the  sluaf,  and  one  and  all 
Seemed  merry  as  the  birds. 

Till  suddenly  the  maiden  Blghed, 
The  boys  were  hushed  iu  fear, 

As,  covering  all  her  face,  Bhe  cried, 

14  It  Hansei  were   hut  here  1  " 


$l6  BALLADS. 

And  when,  at  dark,  about  the  hearth 

They  gathered  still  and  slow, 
You  heard  no  more  the  childish  mirtb 

So  loud  an  hour  ago. 

And  on  their  tender  cheeks  the  tears 

Shone  in  the  flickering  light ; 
For  they  were  four  in  other  years 

Who  are  but  three  to-night. 

And  tears  are  in  the  mother's  tone  ; 
As  she  speaks,  she  trembles,  too  : 
tt  Come,  children,  come,  for  the  supper's  done, 
And  your  father  waits  for  you." 

Then  Fredrica,  and  Franz,  and  Paul, 

Stood  each  beside  his  chair  j 
The  boys  were  comely  lads,  and  tall, 

The  girl  was  good  and  fair. 

The  father's  hand  was  raised  to  crav^ 

A  grace  before  the  meat, 
When  the  daughter  spake  j  her  words  were  brave 

But  her  voice  was  low  and  sweet : 

u  Dear  father,  should  we  give  the  wheat 
To  all  the  birds  of  the  air  ? 
Shall  we  let  the  kite  and  the  raven  eat 
Such  choice  and  dainty  fare  ? 

"  For  if  to-morrow  from  our  store 
We  drive  them  not  away, 
The  good  little  birds  will  get  no  more 
Than  the  evil  birds  of  prey." 


THE    CHRISTMAS  SHEAF.  317 

*  Nay,  nay,  my  child,"  he  gravely  said, 
"  You  have  spoken  to  your  shame, 
For  the  good,  good  Father  overhead, 
"  Feeds  all  the  birds  the  same. 

"He  hears  the  ravens  when  they  cry, 
He  keeps  the  fowls  of  the  air ; 
And  a  single  sparrow  cannot  lie 
On  the  ground  without  his  care." 

"  Yea,  father,  yea  ;  and  tell  me  this,"  — 

Her  words  came  fast  and  wild,  — 
"  Are  not  a  thousand  sparrows  less 

To  Him  than  a  single  child  ? 

"  Even  though  it  sinned  and  strayed  from  home  ? " 
The  father  groaned  in  pain 
As  she  cried,  "  O,  let  our  Hansei  come 
And  live  with  us  again  ! 

"  I  know  he  did  what  was  not  right "  — 

Sadly  he  shook  his  head  ; 
"If  he  knew  I  longed  for  him  to-night, 

He  would  not  come,"  he  said. 

"  He  went  from  me  in  wrath  and  pride  ; 
God  !  shield  him  tenderly  ! 
For  I  hear  the  wild  wind  cry  outside, 
Like  a  soul  in  agony." 

"  Nay,  it  is  a  soul !"  O,  eagerly 

The  maiden  answered  then  ; 
u  And,  father,  what  if  it  should  be  he, 

Come  back  to  us  again  !  " 


318  BALLADS. 

She  stops  —  the  portal  open  flies ; 
Her  fear  is  turned  to  joy  : 
"  Hansei !  "  the  startled  father  cries  ; 
And  the  mother  sobs,  "  My  boy  !  " 

'Tis  a  bowed  and  humbled  man  they  greet, 

With  loving  lips  and  eyes, 
Who  fain  would  kneel  at  his  father's  feet, 

But  he  softly  bids  him  rise  ; 

And  he  says,  "  I  bless  thee,  O  mine  own  ; 

Yea,  and  thou  shalt  be  blest ! " 
While  the  happy  mother  holds  her  son 

Like  a  baby  on  her  breast. 

Their  house  and  love  again  to  share 

The  Prodigal  has  come ! 
And  now  there  will  be  no  empty  chair, 

Nor  empty  heart  in  their  home. 

And  they  think,  as  they  sfie  their  joy  and  pride 

Safe  back  in  the  sheltering  fold, 
Of  the  child  that  was  born  at  Christmas-tide 

In  Bethlehem  of  old. 

And  all  the  hours  glide  swift  away 

With  loving,  hopeful  words, 
Till  the  Christmas  sheaf  at  break  of  day 

Is  alive  with  happy  birds  ! 

[Note.  —  In  Norway  the  last  sheaf  from  the  harvest-field  is 
never  threshed,  but  it  is  always  reserved  till  Christmas  Eve, 
when  it  is  set  up  on  the  roof  as  a  feast  for  the  hungry  birds  1 


LITTLE   GOTTLIEB,  3*9 


LITTLE  GOTTLIEB. 

A  CHRISTMAS  STORY. 

Across  the  German  Ocean, 

In  a  country  far  from  our  own, 
Once,  a  poor  little  boy,  named  Gottlieb, 

Lived  with  his  mother  alone. 

They  dwelt  in  the  part  of  a  village 

Where  the  houses  were  poor  and  small, 

But  the  home  of  little  Gottlieb 
Was  the  poorest  one  of  all. 

He  was  not  large  enough  to  work, 
And  his  mother  could  do  no  more 

(Though  she  scarcely  laid  her  knitting  down); 
Than  keep  the  wolf  from  the  door. 

She  had  to  take  their  threadbare  clothes, 

And  turn,  and  patch,  and  darn  ; 
For  never  any  women  yet 

Grew  rich  by  knitting  yarn. 

And  oft  at  night,  beside  her  chair, 

Would  Gottlieb  sit,  and  plan 
The  wonderful  things  he  would  do  for  her, 

When  he  grew  to  be  a  man. 


One  night  she  sat  and  knitted, 
And  Gottlieb  sat  and  dreamed, 

When  a  happy  fancy  all  at  once 
Upon  his  vision  beamed. 


320  BALLADS. 

'Twas  only  a  week  till  Christmas, 
And  Gottlieb  knew  that  then 

The  Christ-child,  who  was  born  that  day, 
Sent  down  good  gifts  to  men. 

But  he  said,  "  He  will  never  find  us, 
Our  home  is  so  mean  and  small. 

And  we,  who  have  most  need  of  them, 
Will  get  no  gifts  at  all." 

When  all  at  once,  a  happy  light 
Came  into  his  eyes  so  blue, 

And  lighted  up  his  face  with  smiles, 
As  he  thought  what  he  could  do. 

Next  day  when  the  postman's  letters 
Came  from  all  over  the  land ; 

Came  one  for  the  Christ-child,  written 
In  a  child's  poor,  trembling  hand. 

You  may  think  he  was  sorely  puzzled 

What  in  the  world  to  do  ; 
So  he  went  to  the  Burgomaster, 

As  the  wisest  man  he  knew. 

And  when  they  opened  the  letter, 
They  stood  almost  dismayed 

That  such  a  little  child  should  dare 
To  ask  the  Lord  for  aid. 

Then  the  Burgomaster  stammered, 
And  scarce  knew  what  to  speak, 

And  hastily  he  brushed  aside 

A  drop,  like  a  tear,  from  his  cheek. 


LITTLE   GOTTLIEB.  32 1 

Then  up  he  spoke  right  gruffly, 
And  turned  himself  about : 
u  This  must  be  a  very  foolish  boy, 
And  a  small  one,  too,  no  doubt" 

But  when  six  rosy  children 

That  night  about  him  pressed, 
Poor,  trusting  little  Gottlieb 

Stood  near  him,  with  the  rest. 

And  he  heard  his  simple,  touching  praver, 

Through  all  their  noisy  play ; 
Though  he  tried  his  very  best  to  put 

The  thought  of  him  away. 

A  wise  and  learned  man  was  he, 

Men  called  him  good  and  just ; 
But  his  wisdom  seemed  like  foolishness, 

By  that  weak  child's  simple  trust. 

Now  when  the  morn  of  Christmas  came, 
And  the  long,  long  week  was  done, 

Poor  Gottlieb,  who  scarce  could  sleep, 
Rose  up  before  the  sun, 

And  hastened  to  his  mother, 

But  he  scarce  might  speak  for  fear, 

When  he  saw  her  wondering  look,  and  saw 
The  Burgomaster  near. 

He  wasn't  afraid  of  the  Holy  Babe, 

Nor  his  mother,  meek  and  mild ; 
But  he  felt  as  if  so  great  a  man 

Had  never  been  a  child. 

21 


3*3  BALLADS. 

Amazed  the  poor  child  looked,  to  find 
The  hearth  was  piled  with  wood, 

And  the  table,  never  full  before, 
Was  heaped  with  dainty  food. 

Then  half  to  hide  from  himself  the  truth, 

The  Burgomaster  said, 
While  the  mother  blessed  him  on  her  knees, 

And  Gottlieb  shook  for  dread  : 

"  Nay,  give  no  thanks,  my  good  dame, 
To  such  as  me  for  aid, 
Be  grateful  to  your  little  son, 

And  the  Lord  to  whom  he  prayed  1  " 

Then  turning  round  to  Gottlieb, 

"  Your  written  prayer,  you  see, 
Came  not  to  whom  it  was  addressed, 
It  only  came  to  me  ! 

"  Twas  but  a  foolish  thing  you  did, 
As  you  must  understand  ; 
For  though  the  gifts  are  yours,  you  know, 
You  have  them  from  my  hand." 

Then  Gottlieb  answered  fearlessly, 
Where  he  humbly  stood  apart, 
"  But  the  Christ-child  sent  them  all  the  same, 
He  put  the  thought  in  your  heart !  " 


RELIGIOUS    POEMS. 


CHRISTMAS. 

This  happy  day,  whose  risen  sun 

Shall  set  not  through  eternity, 
This  holy  day  when  Christ,  the  Lord, 

Took  on  Him  our  humanity, 

For  little  children  everywhere 
A  joyous  season  still  we  make  ; 

We  bring  our  precious  gifts  to  them, 
Even  for  the  dear  child  Jesus'  sake. 

The  glory  from  the  manger  shed, 

Wherein  the  lowly  Saviour  lay, 
Shines  as  a  halo  round  the  head 

Of  every  human  child  to-day. 

And  each  unconscious  infant  sleeps 
Entrusted  to  his  guardian  care  ; 

Hears  his  dear  name  in  cradle  hymns, 
And  lisps  it  in  its  earliest  prayer. 

Thou  blessed  Babe  of  Bethlehem  ! 

Whose  life  we  love,  whose  name  we  laud  j 
Thou  Brother,  through  whose  poverty, 

\\v  have  become  the  heirs  of  (rod  ; 


324  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

Thou  sorrowful,  yet  sinless  Man  — 
Tempted  in  all  things  like  as  we, 

Treading  with  tender,  human  feet, 
The  sharp,  rough  way  of  Calvary ; 

We  do  remember  how,  by  Thee, 

The  sick  were  healed,  the  halting  led  ; 

How  Thou  didst  take  the  little  ones 
And  pour  thy  blessings  on  their  head. 

We  know  for  what  unworthy  men 

Thou  once  didst  deign  to  toil  and  live ; 

What  weak  and  sinful  women  Thou 
Didst  love,  and  pity,  and  forgive. 

And,  Lord,  if  to  the  sick  and  poor 
We  go  with  generous  hearts  to-day, 

Or  in  forbidden  places  seek 

For  such  as  wander  from  the  way  ; 

And  by  our  loving  words  or  deeds 
Make  this  a  hallowed  time  to  them  ; 

Though  we  ourselves  be  found  unmeet, 
For  sin,  to  touch  thy  garment's  hem  ; 

Wilt  Thou  not,  for  thy  wondrous  grace, 

And  for  thy  tender  charity, 
Accept  the  good  we  do  to  these, 
As  we  had  done  it  unto  Thee  ? 

And  for  the  precious  little  ones, 

Here  from  their  native  heaven  astray 

Strong  in  their  very  helplessness, 
To  lead  us  in  the  better  way ; 


PRODIGALS.  325 

If  we  shall  make  thy  natal  day 

A  season  of  delight  to  these, 
A  season  always  crowded  full 

Of  sweet  and  pleasant  memories  ; 

Wilt  Thou  not  grant  us  to  forget 
Awhile  our  weight  of  care  and  pain, 

And  in  their  joys,  bring  back  their  joy 
Of  early  innocence  again  ? 

O  holy  Child,  about  whose  bed 

The  virgin  mother  softly  trod ; 
Dead  once,  yet  living  evermore, 

O  Son  of  Mary,  and  of  God  ! 

If  any  act  that  we  can  do, 

If  any  thought  of  ours  is  right, 
If  any  prayer  we  lift  to  Thee, 

May  find  acceptance  in  thy  sight, 

Hear  us,  and  give  to  us,  to-day, 

In  answer  to  our  earnest  cries, 
Some  portion  of  that  sacred  love, 

That  drew  Thee  to  us  from  the  skies  1 


PRODIGALS. 

Again,  in  the  Book  of  Books,  to-day 
I  read  of  that  Prodigal,  far  away 

In  the  centuries  agone, 
Who  took  the  portion  that  to  him  fell, 
And  went  from  friends  and  home  to  dwell 

In  a  distant  land  alone. 


|26  RELIGIOUS  POEMS 

And  when  his  riotous  living  was  done, 
And  his  course  of  foolish  pleasure  run, 

And  a  fearful  famine  rose, 
He  fain  would  have  fed  with  the  very  swine, 
And  fio  man  gave  him  bread  nor  wine, 

For  his  friends  were  changed  to  foes. 

And  I  thought,  when  at  last  his  state  he  knew 
What  a  little  thing  he  had  to  do, 

To  win  again  his  place  : 
Only  the  madness  of  sin  to  learn, 
To  come  to  himself,  repent,  and  turn, 

And  seek  his  Father's  face. 

Then  I  thought  however  vile  we  are, 
Not  one  of  us  hath  strayed  so  far 

From  the  things  that  are  good  and  pure, 
But  if  to  gain  his  home  he  tried 
He  would  find  the  portal  open  wide, 

And  find  his  welcome  sure. 

My  fellow-sinners,  though  you  dwell 

In  haunts  where  the  feet  take  hold  on  hell, 

Where  the  downward  way  is  plain ; 
Think,  who  is  waiting  for  you  at  home, 
Repent,  and  come  to  yourself,  and  come 

To  your  Father's  house  again  ! 

Say,  out  of  the  depths  of  humility, 
w  I  have  lost  the  claim  of  a  child  on  Thee, 

I  would  serve  Thee  with  the  least  I  n 
And  He  will  a  royal  robe  prepare, 
He  will  call  you  son,  and  call  you  heir  ; 

And  seat  you  at  the  feist. 


ST.   BERNARD   OF  CLAIR VAUX.  $2? 

Yea,  fellow-sinner,  rise  to-day, 

And  run  till  He  meets  you  on  the  way, 

Till  you  hear  the  glad  words  said,  — 
;  Let  joy  through  all  the  heave?is  resound 
For  this ^  my  son,  zvho  was  lost  is  found, 

And  he  lives  who  once  was  dead." 


ST.  BERNARD  OF  CLAIRVAUX. 

In  the  shade  of  the  cloister,  long  ago  — 
They  are  dead  and  buried  for  centuries  — 

The  pious  monks  walked  to  and  fro, 
Talking  of  holy  mysteries. 

By  a  blameless  life  and  penance  hard, 
Each  brother  there  had  proved  his  call  ; 

But  the  one  we  name  the  St.  Bernard 
Was  the  sweetest  soul  among  them  all. 

And  oft  as  a  silence  on  them  fell, 

He  would  pause,  and  listen,  and  whisper  low, 
'*  There  is  One  who  waits  for  me  in  my  cell ; 
I  hear  Him  calling,  and  I  must  go  !  " 

No  charm  of  human  fellowship 

His  soul  from  its  dearest  love  can  bind  ; 

With  a  "  Jesu  Dulcis"  on  his  lip, 

He  leaves  all  else  that  is  sweet  behind. 

The  only  hand  that  he  longs  to  take, 
Pierced,  from  the  cross  is  reaching  down, 


328  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

And  the  head  he  loves,  for  his  dear  sake 
Was  wounded  once  with  a  thorny  crown. 

Ah  !  men  and  brethren,  He  whose  call 

Drew  that  holy  monk  with  a  power  divine, 

Was  the  One  who  is  calling  for  us  all, 

Was  the  Friend  of  sinners  —  yours  and  mine  I 


From  the  sleep  of  the  cradle  to  the  grave, 
From  the  first  low  cry  till  the  lip  is  dumb 

Ready  to  help  us,  and  strong  to  save, 
He  is  calling,  and  waiting  till  we  come. 

Lord  !  teach  us  always  thy  voice  to  know, 
And  to  turn  to  Thee  from  the  world  beside, 

Prepared  when  our  time  has  come  to  go, 
Whether  at  morn  or  eventide. 

And  to  say  when  the  heavens  are  rent  in  twain, 
When  suns  are  darkened,  and  stars  shall  flee, 

Lo !  Thou  hast  not  called  for  us  in  vain, 
And  we  shall  not  call  in  vain  for  Thee  1 


OLD  PICTURES. 

Old  pictures,  faded  long,  to-night 

Come  out  revealed  by  memory's  gleam ; 

And  years  of  checkered  dark  and  light 
Vanish  behind  me  like  a  dream. 


I 


OLD  PICTURES.  3a9 

I  see  the  cottage,  brown  and  low, 

The  rustic  porch,  the  roof-tree's  shade, 

And  all  the  place  where  long  ago 
A  group  of  happy  children  played. 

I  see  the  brother,  bravest,  best, 

The  prompt  to  act,  the  bold  to  speak ; 

The  baby,  dear  and  honored  guest ! 
The  timid  sister,  shy  and  meek. 

I  see  her  loving  face  who  oft 

Watched,  that  their  slumbers  might  be  sweet  \ 
And  his  whose  dear  hand  made  so  soft 

The  path  for  all  their  tender  feet. 

I  see,  far  off,  the  woods  whose  screen 

Bounded  the  little  world  we  knew  ; 
And  near,  in  fairy  rings  of  green, 

The  grass  that  round  the  door-stones  grew. 

I  watch  at  morn  the  oxen  come, 

And  bow  their  meek  necks  to  the  yoke ; 

Or  stand  at  noontide,  patient,  dumb, 
In  the  great  shadow  of  the  oak. 

The  barn  vwcn  crowded  mows  of  hay, 
And  roof  upheld  by  golden  sheaves  ; 

Its  rows  of  doves,  at  close  of  day, 
Cooing  together  on  the  eaves. 

I  see,  above  the  garden-beds, 

The  bee  at  work  with  laden  wings  ; 
The  dandelions'  yellow  heads 

Crowding  about  the  orchard  spring  ; 


330  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

The  little,  sweet-voiced,  homely  thrush ; 

The  field-lark,  with  her  speckled  breast , 
The  finches  in  the  currant-bush  ; 

And  where  the  blue-birds  hid  their  nest 

I  see  the  comely  apple-trees, 

In  spring,  a-blush  with  blossoms  sweet ; 
Or,  bending  with  the  autumn  breeze, 

Shake  down  their  ripe  fruits  at  our  feet 

I  see,  when  hurtling  through  the  air 

The  arrows  of  the  winter  fly, 
And  all  the  frozen  earth  lies  bare, 

A  group  about  the  hearth  draw  nigh, 

Of  little  ones  that  never  tire 
Of  stories  told  and  told  again  ; 

I  see  the  pictures  in  the  fire, 

The  firelight  pictures  in  the  pane. 

I  almost  feel  the  stir  and  buzz 
Of  day  ;  the  evening's  holy  calm  ; 

Yea,  all  that  made  me  what  I  was, 
And  helped  to  make  me  what  I  am. 

Then  lo  !  it  dies,  as  died  our  youth ; 

And  things  so  strange  about  me  seem, 
I  know  not  what  should  be  the  truth, 

Nor  whether  I  would  wake  or  dream. 

I  have  not  found  to-day  so  vain, 
Nor  yesterday  so  fair  and  good, 

That  I  would  have  my  life  again, 
And  live  it  over  if  I  could. 


THE   PLAYMATES. 

Not  every  hope  for  me  has  proved 
A  house  on  weak  foundation  built ; 

I  have  not  seen  the  feet  I  loved 
Caught  in  the  awful  snares  of  guilt. 

But  when  I  see  the  paths  so  hard 

Kept  soft  and  smooth  in  days  gone  by  -> 

The  lives  that  years  have  made  or  marred, 
Out  of  my  loneliness  I  cry  : 

O,  for  the  friends  that  made  so  bright 
The  days,  alas  !  too  soon  to  wane ! 

O,  but  to  be  one  hour  to-night 
Set  in  their  midst,  a  child  again ! 


THE  PLAYMATES. 

Two  careless,  happy  children, 

Up  when  the  east  was  red, 
And  never  tired  and  never  still 

Till  the  sun  had  gone  to  bed ; 
Helping  the  winds  in  winter 

To  toss  the  snows  about ; 
Gathering  the  early  flowers, 

When  spring-time  called  them  out ; 
Playing  among  the  windrows 

Where  the  mowers  mowed  the  hay ; 
Finding  the  place  where  the  skylark 

Had  hidden  her  nest  away  ; 

Treading  the  cool,  damp  furrows 

Behind  the  shining  plough  ; 


33*  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

Up  in  the  barn  with  the  swallows, 

And  sliding  over  the  mow  ; 
Pleased  with  the  same  old  stories, 

Heard  a  thousand  times  ; 
Believing  all  the  wonders 

Written  in  tales  or  rhymes  ; 
Counting  the  hours  in  summer 

When  even  a  day  seemed  long  $ 
Counting  the  hours  in  winter 

Till  the  time  of  leaves  and  song. 
Thinking  it  took  forever 

For  little  children  to  grow, 
And  that  seventy  years  of  a  life-time 

Never  could  come  and  go. 
O,  I  know  they  were  happier  children 

Than  the  world  again  may  see, 
For  one  was  my  little  playmate 

And  one,  ah  !  one  was  me  1 

A  sad-faced  man  and  woman, 

Leagues  and  leagues  apart, 
Doing  their  work  as  best  they  may 

With  weary  hand  and  heart ; 
Shrinking  from  winter's  tempests, 

And  summer's  burning  heat ; 
Thinking  that  skies  were  brighter 

And  flowers  were  once  more  sweet ; 
Wondering  why  the  skylark 

So  early  tries  his  wings  ; 
And  if  green  fields  are  hidden 

Beyond  the  gate  where  he  sings  1 
Feeling  that  time  is  slipping 

Faster  and  faster  away  ; 


"THE  BAREFOOT  BOY."  333 

That  a  day  is  but  as  a  moment, 

And  the  years  of  life  as  a  day ; 
Seeing  the  heights  and  places 

Others  have  reached  and  won  ; 
Sighing  o'er  things  accomplished, 

And  things  that  are  left  undone  ; 
And  yet  still  trusting,  somehow, 

In  his  own  good  time  to  become 
Again  as  little  children, 

In  their  Heavenly  Father's  home  : 
One  crowding  memories  backward, 

\n  the  busy,  restless  mart, 
One  pondering  on  them  ever, 

And  keeping  them  in  her  heart ; 
Going  on  by  their  separate  pathways 

To  the  same  eternity  — 
And  one  of  these  is  my  playmate, 

And  one,  alas  !  is  me  ! 


"THE  BAREFOOT  BOY." 

Ah  !  "  Barefoot  Boy  !  "  you  have  led  me  back 

O'er  the  waste  of  years  profound, 
To  the  still,  sweet  spots,  which  memory 

Hatli  kept  as  haunted  ground 
You  have  led  me  back  to  the  western  hills, 

Where  I  played  through  the  summer  hours  ; 
And  called  my  little  playmate  up, 

To  stand  anions  the  flowers. 


334  RELIGIOUS  POEMS. 

We  are  hand  in  hand  in  the  fields  again, 

We  are  treading  through  the  dew ! 
And  not  the  poet's  "  barefoot  boy," 

Nor  him  the  artist  drew, 
Is  half  so  brave  and  bold  and  good, 

Though  bright  their  colors  glow, 
As  the  darling  playmate  that  I  had 

And  lost,  so  long  ago  ! 

I  touch  the  spring-time's  tender  grass, 

I  find  the  daisy  buds ) 
I  feel  the  shadows  deep  and  cool, 

In  the  heart  of  the  summer  woods ; 
I  see  the  ripened  autumn  nuts, 

Like  thick  hail  strew  the  earth  ; 
I  catch  the  fall  of  the  winter  snow, 

And  the  glow  of  the  cheerful  hearth ! 

But  alas  !  my  playmate,  loved  and  lost, 

My  heart  is  full  of  tears, 
For  the  dead  and  buried  hopes,  that  are  more 

Than  our  dead  and  buried  years : 
And  I  cannot  see  the  poet's  rhymes, 

Nor  the  lines  the  artist  drew, 
But  only  the  boy  that  held  my  hand, 

And  led  my  feet  through  the  dew  1 


LOVE   POEMS. 


AMY'S  LOVE-LETTER. 

Turning  some  papers  carelessly 

That  were  hid  away  in  a  desk  unused, 

I  came  upon  something  yesterday 
O'er  which  I  pondered  and  mused : 

A  letter,  faded  now  and  dim, 

And  stained  in  places,  as  if  by  tears  : 

And  yet  I  had  hardly  thought  of  him 
Who  traced  its  pages  for  years. 

Though  once  the  happy  tears  made  dim 
My  eyes,  and  my  blushing  cheeks  grew  hot> 

To  have  but  a  single  word  from  him, 
Fond  er  foolish,  no  matter  what. 

If  he  ever  quoted  another's  rhymes, 
Poor  in  themselves  and  commonplace, 

I  said  them  over  a  thousand  times, 
As  if  he  had  lent  them  a  grace. 

The  single  color  th.it  pleased  his  taste 
Was  the  only  one  I  would  have,  or  wear, 

Even  in  the  girdle  about  my  waist 
Or  the  ribbon  that  bound  my  hair. 


336  LOVE  POEMS. 

Then  my  flowers  were  the  self-same  kind  and  hue  % 
And  yet  how  strangely  one  forgets  — 

I  cannot  think  which  one  of  the  two 
It  was,  or  roses  or  violets ! 

But  O,  the  visions  I  knew  and  nursed, 
While  I  walked  in  a  world  unseen  before  1 

For  my  world  began  when  I  knew  him  first, 
And  must  end  when  he  came  no  more. 

We  would  have  died  for  each  other's  sake , 
Would  have  given  all  else  in  the  world  below ; 

And  we  said  and  thought  that  our  hearts  would  break 
When  we  parted,  years  ago. 

How  the  pain  as  well  as  the  rapture  seems 

A  shadowy  thing  I  scarce  recall, 
Passed  wholly  out  of  my  life  and  dreams, 

As  though  it  had  never  been  at  all. 

And  is  this  the  end,  and  is  here  the  grave 

Of  our  steadfast  love  and  our  changeless  faith 

About  which  the  poets  sing  and  rave, 
Naming  it  strong  as  death  ? 

At  least  'tis  what  mine  has  come  to  at  last, 

Stript  of  all  charm  and  all  disguise ; 
And  I  wonder  if,  when  he  thinks  of  the  past, 

He  thinks  we  were  foolish  or  wise  ? 

Well,  I  am  content,  so  it  matters  not  ; 

And,  speaking  about  him,  some  one  said  — 
I  wish  I  could  only  remember  what  — 

But  he's  either  married  or  dead. 


DO    YOU  BLAME  HER?  337 

DO  YOU  BLAME  HER? 

Ne'er  lover  spake  in  tenderer  words, 
While  mine  were  calm,  unbroken ; 

Though  I  suffered  all  the  pain  I  gave 
In  the  No,  so  firmly  spoken. 

I  marvel  what  he  would  think  of  me, 

Who  called  it  a  cruel  sentence, 
If  he  knew  I  had  almost  learned  to-day 

What  it  is  to  feel  repentance. 

For  it  seems  like  a  strange  perversity, 

And  blind  beyond  excusing, 
To  lose  the  thing  we  could  have  kept, 

And  after,  mourn  the  losing. 

And  this,  the  prize  I  might  have  won, 

Was  worth  a  queen's  obtaining ; 
And  one,  if  far  beyond  my  reach, 

I  had  sighed,  perchance,  for  gaining. 

And  I  know  —  ah  !  no  one  knows  so  well, 
Though  my  heart  is  far  from  breaking  — 

'Twas  a  loving  heart,  and  an  honest  hand, 
I  might  have  had  for  the  taking. 

And  yet,  though  never  one  beside 

Has  place  in  my  thought  above  hinv 
I  only  like  him  when  he  is  by, 

'Tis  when  he  is  gone  i  love  him. 

Sadly  of  absence  poets 
Ami  timid  lovers  fear  it  ; 


33^  LOVE  POEMS. 

But  an  idol  has  been  worshipped  less 
Sometimes  when  we  came  too  near  it. 

And  for  him  my  fancy  throws  to-day 

A  thousand  graces  o'er  him  ; 
For  he  seems  a  god  when  he  stands  afar 

And  I  kneel  in  my  thought  before  him. 

But  if  he  were  here,  and  knelt  to  me 

With  a  lover's  fond  persistence, 
Would  the  halo  brighten  to  my  eyes 

That  crowns  him  now  in  the  distance  ? 

Could  I  change  the  words  I  have  said,  and  say 

Till  one  of  us  two  shall  perish, 
Foisaking  others,  I  take  this  man 

Alone,  to  love  and  to  cherish  ? 

Alas  !  whatever  beside  to-day 

I  might  dream  like  a  fond  romancer, 

I  know  my  heart  so  well  that  I  know 
I  should  give  him  the  self-same  answer. 


SONG. 

I^augh  out,  O  stream,  from  your  bed  of  green, 
Where  you  lie  in  the  sun's  embrace  ; 

And  talk  to  the  reeds  that  o'er  you  lean 
To  touch  your  dimpled  face  ; 

But  let  your  talk  be  sweet  as  it  will, 
And  your  laughter  be  as  gay, 


SOMEBODY'S    LOVERS.  339 

You  cannot  laugh  as  I  laugh  in  my  heart, 
For  my  lover  will  come  to-day ! 

Sing  sweet,  little  bird,  sing  out  to  your  mate 

That  hides  in  the  leafy  grove  ; 
Sing  clear  and  tell  him  for  him  you  wait, 

And  tell  him  of  all  your  love  ; 
But  though  you  sing  till  you  shake  the  buds 

And  the  tender  leaves  of  May, 
My  spirit  thrills  with  a  sweeter  song, 

For  my  lover  must  come  to-day ! 

Come  up,  O  winds,  come  up  from  the  south 

With  eager  hurrying  feet, 
And  kiss  your  red  rose  on  her  mouth 

In  the  bower  where  she  blushes  sweet ; 
But  you  cannot  kiss  your  darling  flower, 

Though  you  clasp  her  as  you  may, 
As  I  kiss  in  my  thought  the  lover  dear 

I  shall  hold  in  my  arms  to-day  ! 


SOMEBODY'S    LOVERS 

Too  meek  by  half  was  he  who  came 

A-wooing  me  one  morn, 
For  he  thought  so  little  of  himself 

I  leai ned  i"  share  his  scorn. 

At  night  I  had  a  suitor,  vain 
As  the  vainest  in  the  land  ; 

Almost    lie  srrlllril    tO  <'"!><  lescend 

In  the  offer  of  his  hand. 


34°  LOVE   POEMS. 

In  one  who  pressed  his  suit  I  missed 

Courage  and  manly  pride  ; 
And  how  could  I  think  of  such  a  one 

As  a  leader  and  a  guide  ? 

And  then  there  came  a  worshipper 
With  such  undoubting  trust, 

That  when  he  knelt  he  seemed  not  worth 
Upraising  from  the  dust. 

The  next  was  never  in  the  wrong, 
Was  not  too  smooth  nor  rough ; 

So  faultless  and  so  good  was  he, 
That  that  was  fault  enough. 

But  one,  the  last  of  all  who  came, 

I  know  not  how  to  paint ; 
No  angel  do  I  seem  to  him  — 

He  scarcely  calls  me  saint ! 

He  hath  such  sins  and  weaknesses 

As  mortal  man  befall  ; 
He  hath  a  thousand  faults,  and  yet 

I  love  him  with  them  all ! 

He  never  asked  me  yea  nor  nay, 

Nor  knelt  to  me  one  hour  j 
But  he  took  my  heart,  and  holds  my  heart 

With  a  lover's  tender  power. 

And  I  bow,  as  needs  I  must,  and  say, 

In  proud  humility, 
Love's  might  is  right,  and  I  yield  at  last 

To  manhood's  royalty! 


LAST    POEMS. 


NOBODY'S   CHILD. 

Only  a  newsboy,  under  the  light 

Of  the  lamp-post  plying  his  trade  in  vain  : 
Men  are  too  busy  to  stop  to-night, 

Hurrying  home  through  the  sleet  and  rain. 
Never  since' dark  a  paper  sold  ; 

Where  shall  he  sleep,  or  how  be  fed  ? 
He  thinks  as  he  shivers  there  in  the  cold, 

While  happy  children  are  safe  abed. 

Is  it  strange  if  he  turns  about 

With  angry  words,  then  comes  to  blows, 
When  his  little  neighbor,  just  sold  out, 
Tossing  his  pennies,  past  him  goes  ? 
u  Stop  !  "  —  some  one  looks  at  him,  sweet  and  mild, 

And  the  voice  that  speaks  is  a  tender  one : 
"  You  should  not  strike  such  a  little  child, 

And  you  should  not  use  such  words,  my  son  !  " 

Is  it  his  anger  or  his  fears 

That  have  hushed  his  voice  and  stopped  his  arm 
1  Don't  tremble,"  these  aie  the  words  he  hears; 
"  Do  you  think  that  I  would  do  you  harm  ?  ■ 


342  LAST  POEMS. 

"It  isn't  that,"  and  the  hand  drops  down  ; 
"I  wouldn't  care  for  kicks  and  blows  ; 
But  nobody  ever  called  me  son, 
Because  I'm  nobody's  child,  I  s'pose." 

O  men  !  as  ye  careless  pass  along, 

Remember  the  love  that  has  care  i  for  you  ; 
And  blush  for  the  awful  shame  ana  wrong 

Of  a  world  where  such  a  thing  could  be  true  ! 
Think  what  the  child  at  your  knee  had  been 

If  thus  on  life's  lonely  billows  tossed ; 
And  who  shall  bear  the  weight  of  the  sin, 

If  one  of  these  "  little  ones  "  be  lost  I 


JOHN  G.  WHITTIER. 

Great  master  of  the  poet's  art ! 

Surely  the  sources  of  thy  powers 
Lie  in  that  true  and  tender  heart 

Whose  every  utterance  touches  ours. 

For,  better  than  thy  words,  that  glow 
With  sunset  dyes  or  noontide  heat, 

That  count  the  treasures  of  the  snow, 
Or  paint  the  blossoms  at  our  feet, 

Are  those  that  teach  the  sorrowing  how 
To  lay  aside  their  fear  and  doubt, 

And  in  submissive  love  to  bow 
To  love  that  passeth  finding  out. 


THOU  KNOWEST.  343 

And  thou  for  such  hast  come  to  be 
In  every  home  an  honored  guest  — 

Even  from  the  cities  by  the  sea 
To  the  broad  prairies  of  the  West. 

Thy  lays  have  cheered  the  humble  home 
Where  men  who  prayed  for  freedom  knelt ; 

And  women,  in  their  anguish  dumb, 
Have  heard  thee  utter  what  they  felt. 

And  thou  hast  battled  for  the  right 

With  many  a  brave  and  trenchant  word. 

And  shown  us  how  the  pen  may  fight 
A  mightier  battle  than  the  sword. 

And  therefore  men  in  coming  years 
Shall  chant  thy  praises  loud  and  long ; 

And  women  name  thee  through  their  tears 
A  poet  greater  than  his  song. 

But  not  thy  strains,  with  courage  rife, 
Nor  holiest  hymns,  shall  rank  above 

The  rhythmic  beauty  of  thy  life, 
Itself  a  canticle  of  love  1 


TIIOU  KNOWEST 

Lord,  with  what  body  do  they  come 
Who  in  corruption  Ik  to  arc  sown, 

When,  with  humiliation  done, 

They  wear  the  likeness  of  thine  own? 


344  LAST  POEMS. 

Lord,  of  what  manner  didst  Thou  make 
The  fruits  upon  life's  healing  tree  ? 

Where  flows  that  water  we  may  take 
And  thirst  not  through  eternity  ? 

Where  lie  the  beds  of  lilies  prest 
By  virgins  whiter  than  their  snow  ? 

What  can  we  liken  to  the  rest 
Thy  well- beloved  yet  shall  know? 

And  where  no  moon  shall  shine  by  night, 
No  sun  shall  rise  and  take  his  place, 

How  shall  we  look  upon  the  light, 
O,  Lamb  of  God,  that  lights  thy  face  ? 

How  shall  we  speak  our  joy  that  day 
We  stand  upon  the  peaceful  shore, 

Where  blest  inhabitants  shall  say, 
Lo !  we  are  sick  and  sad  no  more  ? 

What  anthems  shall  they  raise  to  Thee, 
The  host  upon  the  other  side  ? 

What  will  our  depths  of  rapture  be 
When  heart  and  soul  are  satisfied  ? 

How  will  life  seem  when  fear,  nor  dread, 
Nor  mortal  weakness  chains  our  powers ; 

When  sin  is  crushed,  and  death  is  dead, 
And  all  eternity  is  ours  ? . 

When,  with  our  lover  and  our  Spouse, 

We  shall  as  angels  be  above, 
And  plight  no  troths  and  breathe  no  vows, 

How  shall  we  tell  and  prove  our  love  ? 


LIGHT.  345 

How  can  we  take  in  faith  thy  hand, 
And  walk  the  way  that  we  must  tread  ? 

How  can  we  trust  and  understand 

That  Christ  will  raise  us  from  the  dead  ? 

We  cannot  see  nor  know  to-day, 

For  He  hath  made  us  of  the  dust  j 
We  can  but  wait  his  time,  and  say, 

Even  though  He  slay  me,  will  I  trust ! 

Swift  to  the  dead  we  hasten  now, 
And  know  not  even  the  way  we  go  ; 

Yet  quick  and  dead  are  thine,  and  Thou  — 
Thou  knowest  all  we  do  not  know ! 


LIGHT. 

While  I  hid  mine  eyes,  I  feared  ; 

The  heavens  in  wrath  seemed  bowed  \ 
I  look,  and  the  sun  with  a  smile  breaks  forth, 

And  a  rainbow  spans  the  cloud. 

I  thought  the  winter  was  here, 
That  the  earth  was  cold  and  bare, 

But  I  feel  the  coming  of  birds  and  flowers, 
And  the  spring-time  in  "the  air. 

I  said  that  all  the  lips 

I  ever  had  kissed  were  dumb  ; 
That  my  dearest  ones  were  dead  and  gone, 

And  never  a  friend  would  come. 


$46  LAST  POEMS. 

But  I  hear  a  voice  as  sweet 

As  the  fall  of  summer  showers  ; 

And  the  grave  that  yawned  at  my  very  feet 
Is  filled  to  the  top  with  flowers ! 

As  if  'twere  the  midnight  hour, 

I  sat  with  gloom  opprest ; 
When  a  light  was  breaking  out  of  the  east, 

And  shining  unto  the  west. 

I  heard  the  angels  call 

Across  from  the  beautiful  shore  ; 
And  I  saw  a  look  in  my  darling's  eyes, 

That  never  was  there  before. 

Transfigured,  lost  to  me, 

She  had  slipped  from  my  embrace  ; 
Now  lo  !  I  hold  her  fast  once  more, 

With  the  light  of  God  on  her  face  ! 


WAITING  THE  CHANGE. 


I  have  no  moan  to  make, 

No  bitter  tears  to  shed  j 
No  heart,  that  for  rebellious  grief, 

Will  not  be  comforted. 

There  is  no  friend  of  mine 
Laid  in  the  earth  to  sleep  ; 

No  grave,  or  green  or  heaped  afresh. 
By  which  I  stand  and  weep. 


WAITING    THE   CHANGE.  347 

Though  some,  whose  presence  once 

Sweet  comfort  round  me  shed, 
Here  in  the  body  walk  no  more 

The  way  that  I  must  tread, 

Not  they,  but  what  they  wore 

Went  to  the  house  of  fear  ; 
They  were  the  incorruptible, 

They  left  corruption  here. 

The  veil  of  flesh  that  hid 

Is  softly  drawn  aside  ; 
More  clearly  I  behold  them  now 

Than  those  who  never  died. 

Who  died  !  what  means  that  word 

Of  men  so  much  abhorred  ? 
Caught  up  in  clouds  of  heaven  to  bt- 

Forever  with  the  Lord  ! 

To  give  this  body,  racked 

With  mortal  ills  and  cares, 
For  one  as  glorious  and  as  fair, 

As  our  Redeemer  wears  ; 

To  leave  our  shame  and  sin, 

Our  hunger  and  disgrace  ; 
To  come  unto  ourselves,  to  turn 

And  find  our  Father's  face  ; 

To  run,  to  leap,  to  walk, 

To  quit  our  beds  of  pain, 
And  live  where  the  inhabitants 

Are  never  sick  again  ; 


348  LAST  POEMS. 

To  sit  no  longer  dumb, 

Nor  halt,  nor  blind  \  to  rise  — 

To  praise  the  Healer  with  our  tongue, 
And  see  Him  with  our  eyes  ; 

To  leave  cold  winter  snows, 
And  burning  summer  heats, 

And  walk  in  soft,  white,  tender  light, 
About  the  golden  streets. 

Thank  God  !  for  all  my  loved, 

That  out  of  pain  and  care, 
Have  safely  reached  the  heavenly  heights, 

And  stay  to  meet  me  there ! 

Not  these  I  mourn  ;  I  know 
Their  joy  by  faith  sublime  — 

But  for  myself,  that  still  below 
Must  wait  my  appointed  time. 


THOU   AND   I. 

Strange,  strange  for  thee  and  me, 

Sadly  afar ; 
Thou  safe  beyond,  above, 

I  'neath  the  star ; 
Thou  where  flowers  deathless  spring, 

I  where  they  fade  ; 
Thou  in  God's  paradise, 

I  'mid  time's  shade  I 


THOU  AND  I.  349 

Thou  where  each  gale  breathes  balm, 

I  tempest-tossed  ; 
Thou  where  true  joy  is  found, 

I  where  'tis  lost  j 
Thou  counting  ages  thine, 

I  not  the  morrow  ; 
Thou  learning  more  of  bliss, 

I  more  of  sorrow. 

Thou  in  eternal  peace, 

I  'mid  earth's  strife  ; 
Thou  where  care  hath  no  name, 

I  where  'tis  life  ; 
Thou  without  need  of  hope, 

I  where  'tis  vain  ; 
Thou  with  wings  dropping  light, 

I  with  time's  chain. 

Strange,  strange  for  thee  and  me, 

Loved,  loving  ever ; 
Tbou  by  Life's  deathless  fount, 

I  near  Death's  river  ; 
Thou  winning  Wisdom's  love, 

I  strength  to  trust ; 
Thou  'mid  the  seraphim, 

I  in  the  dust ! 


35°  LAST  POEMS. 


SPRING  FLOWERS.* 

0  sweet  and  charitable  friend, 
Your  gift  of  fragrant  bloom 

Has  brought  the  spring-time  and  the  woods, 
To  cheer  my  lonesome  room. 

It  rests  my  weary,  aching  eyes', 
And  soothes  my  heart  and  brain ; 

To  see  the  tender  green  of  the  leaves, 
And  the  blossoms  wet  with  rain. 

1  know  not  which  I  love  the  most, 

Nor  which  the  comeliest  shows, 
The  timid,  bashful  violet, 
Or  the  royal-hearted  rose  : 

The  pansy  in  her  purple  dress, 

The  pink  with  cheek  of  red, 
Or  the  faint,  fair  heliotrope,  who  hangs, 

Like  a  bashful  maid,  her  head. 

For  I  love  and  prize  you  one  and  all, 
From  the  least  low  bloom  of  spring 

To  the  lily  fair,  whose  clothes  outshine 
The  raiment  of  a  king. 

And  when  my  soul  considers  these, 

The  sweet,  the  grand,  the  gay, 
I  marvel  how  we  shall  be  clothed 

With  fairer  robes  than  they  ; 

1  The  last  poem  written  by  Phoebe  Cary. 


SPRING  FLOWERS.  &$1 

And  almost  long  to  sleep,  and  rise 

And  gain  that  fadeless  shore, 
And  put  immortal  splendor  on, 

And  live,  to  die  no  more. 


&,#v     /T 


I